Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: Summer 2006 Volume 43 Number 3, Pages 102–103

Notes and Comments

Page 102

Community Institutions Expand

An amazing period of upgrading and growth is taking place in the infrastructure supporting many institutions and organizations situated in our community. It can be thought of as expanding and strengthening the amenities available to us in our everyday living. Some projects have modest cost, and some range into millions of dollars. In total, an amount in excess of $200 million is being invested.

The project commenced in March this year at Paoli Hospital has been termed its “largest expansion ever.” A new four-level parking garage for more than 700 cars, is currently under way. It will be followed by a $145 million expansion nearly doubling the size of the hospital itself, including a new five-level Patient Care Pavilion, a new emergency department, and a new surgical department with 14 new operating rooms.

A steady downpour of rain did not dampen enthusiasm on April 22 when the Upper Main Line YMCA held a ceremonial ground breaking beneath a tent to officially herald the start of an $11 million expansion and renovation project. The work planned includes a new three-story, 30,000-square-foot building, relocation of the main entrance, a parking-lot expansion, utilities relocation, and locker room renovations.

In June, Malvern Preparatory School broke ground for a new fine arts center which is the final phase of a $14 million capital program that began in November 2004. The arts center, named after the late long-time school president, The Rev. David J. Duffy, who passed away in January, is the last of four projects included in the campaign.

The Tredyffrin/Easttown School District has determined to move its administrative offices from the current Education Services Center (former Berwyn Elementary School on First Avenue) and on June 12 voted to purchase two adjoining condominium units in the West Valley Road Business Center. The cost of buying the 22,700-square-foot space, renovations, and moving the staff will be about $7.2 million. The Board anticipates that the building will be occupied during the 2007-2008 school year. The existing ESC site will be available for other district educational uses in the future.

On April 29 and 30, St. David's Episcopal Church dedicated a new, larger church sanctuary seating 600. The new church, the third such building, is an add-on to the 1950s second church and is sited to include a courtyard garden. It is of traditional style, faced with local fieldstone to blend in with the other buildings. The original 1715 church remains nearby across Valley Forge Road, a truly historic structure. The project cost was $11 million.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 7 at the Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli marked the completion of its approximately $9 million addition and renovation project which included a connector building tying together the existing sanctuary and administrative/education/chapel buildings. The extension houses music rooms, education rooms, office space and gathering space, and provides handicapped access. A maintenance building, a garage, and additional parking were also added.

St. Peter's Church in the Great Valley, the oldest Episcopal church in Chester County, in December 2005 occupied a new building (formally dedicated and consecrated in January 2006) across the parking lot from its original 1744 sanctuary. Built in the architectural style of a Pennsylvania bank barn, the new structure can accommodate about 200 persons and is presently used for family worship, Sunday school, community events, and music instruction. The project cost was approximately $4 million.

Page 103

A fund raising campaign has been mounted by Tredyffrin Public Library to finance a planned renovation, which will result in a 33% increase in usable space for the library while retaining the tennis and basketball courts in the park. Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2006. The changes will be in keeping with architectural themes of the original building erected in 1976 which is in the form of an arc along the crest of the hill, wrapped around the open space of the park. Its shape makes prominent use of natural light.

30th Anniversary

Jenkins Arboretum, which opened to the public in 1976, was formerly the home of H. Lawrence and Elizabeth Phillippe Jenkins. When Mr. Jenkins died a widower in 1968, his will directed that the property become “a public park, arboretum, and wildlife sanctuary,” a living memorial to his spouse. The arboretum is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a display of larger-than-life-size watering can sculptures displayed on its grounds of 46 acres off Berwyn Baptist Road in Devon. Harold Sweetman, the arboretum's executive director, and his associates came up with the special display. A fiberglass shop in Lancaster fabricated the cans, and artists were commissioned to paint 40 of them. The four-foot-tall, 60-pound watering cans will be on display throughout the summer. On September 23 the cans will be auctioned at the arboretum's gala reception at Valley Forge Military Academy & College in Wayne.

New Bank Branch

A new face joined the crowd along Lancaster Avenue in zip code 19333 on July 10 when Citizens Bank (a cousin of Royal Bank of Scotland) opened a new branch office in the premises relinquished a few months ago by a Wawa convenience store. In less than one mile of the Devon streetscape there are now eight branch banks, a pleasing assortment.

Architecture Award

Berwyn-based firm, Peter Zimmerman Architects, received a 2006 Palladio Award for its work in designing a new traditional stone home in Willistown incorporating a smaller stone edifice constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Palladio award, named for the famed 16th century Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladino, is presented quarterly by Period Homes, a magazine for residential architects. Photos and a story about the home will appear in the July issue of the magazine.

Zimmerman started his residential-only practice in 1982. Business partner John Toates joined him several years ago. They employ 21, and their offices are located in a historic Georgian-influenced 18th century stone farmhouse (with a log cabin legacy) at the corner of Old Lancaster and Howellville Roads in North Berwyn.

Water Main Upgrade

The agony of the water company replacing a 90-year old cement main under the middle of Lancaster Avenue in 2000-01 has barely faded. But by 2003 a pristine surface reappeared upon our main street and a more tranquil life returned. Come July 2006, the water company (Aqua PA) is back tearing up street surfaces. The new and extensive project to replace water main piping and fire hydrants in Easttown will impact most significantly 6300 feet of Leopard Road, Potter Avenue, Edgewood and Sugartown Roads in Berwyn. The work is expected to continue until October.


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