Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects was commissioned by York College of Pennsylvania to renovate the former Lafayette Club building at 59 East Market Street in downtown York. The 20,000-square foot facility will house the York College Center for Community Engagement and provide Hospitality Management students with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities in classroom and event space.

Murphy & Dittenhafer was charged with repurposing an unusual assemblage of rooms to meet York College’s needs, as well as improving the building’s accessibility and preserving its historical features, such as its stained glass, wall murals, a spiraling staircase, fireplaces, decorative millwork, and the Lafayette seal featured in the entryway carpet.

“It really is a privilege to be the architect for this important adaptive reuse project in downtown York, to collaborate with York College, and to facilitate moving this whole effort forward,” says Frank Dittenhafer II, FAIA, owner and co-founder of Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects. “The new space will create an engaging, new, fresh environment while maintaining the building’s heritage.”

Beyond the improvements to the building itself, the project is a step toward fulfilling York College’s commitment to be an active partner in downtown York’s redevelopment.

“A physical location for York College in York City - right across from its historic hotel, and at the intersection of our vibrant Market/Arts District and Royal Square - speaks to the College’s commitment to being part of York’s renaissance,” says Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini, Dean, Center for Community Engagement. “At this location, we will host community conversations, provide educational offerings to both our students and other community members, and become a campus link that will draw our students and faculty into the City. This historic location will house a new confederation of public/private partnerships as we join the many leaders in York who are committed to this work. We are honored and humbled to be part of the new history we are writing.”

The $1.5M project is underway, beginning with roof replacement and envelope repair. The next phase of construction will begin this month. York College plans to open the renovated facility for Hospitality Management classes and the new Center for Community Engagement in time for the Fall 2016 semester.