Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects led the renovation of a 1931 school building to expand the Sarah’s Hope Transitional Housing Facility for Women and Children.

The $7 million project, commissioned by Baltimore City Department of General Services and St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, comprehensively renovated the 38,000-square foot facility.

Prior to the renovation, Sarah’s Hope occupied the first floor of the building, originally constructed in 1931 as a school. The comprehensive renovation of the existing three-story structure, located in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore City - the neighborhood where Freddie Gray died while in police custody, resulting in a series of protests - has allowed Sarah’s Hope to fully utilize all three floors.

The project enhanced resource and program space for clients, improved staff areas and spaces that will be made available for community use, including a daycare area. The renovation also included installation of a new, energy-efficient variable refrigerant flow HVAC system, new interior finishes and lighting throughout the building. The design developed by Murphy & Dittenhafer provided a complete reconfiguration of all three floorplates, additional client sleeping rooms and common living areas for added privacy, and a more dignified transitional housing experience for residents.

The building has been designed for compliance with easements administered by the Maryland Historical Trust.

Construction was completed earlier in 2015 with a dedication ceremony for the expanded building held in October. Now that the interior renovation is complete and Sarah’s Hope is using the building to its full capacity, Murphy & Dittenhafer has also completed plans for site improvements that will fully develop the surrounding 1.34-acre site for resident and community programming. Construction for the $1.2 million site improvements project is slated to begin in early 2016 and last approximately nine months.