Renovated School Blessed as University of Scranton’s New Early Learning Center and Graduate Apartment Complex

November 19, 2015

University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., blessed the newly renovated former Madison School in the city’s historic Hill Section as an early childhood learning center and graduate student housing complex at a ceremony Nov. 19.

The beautifully repurposed facility is the result of a unique collaboration among The University of Scranton, Hildebrandt Learning Centers and Greenspace Properties, which owns the property that is on Scranton’s tax rolls.

“On behalf of The University of Scranton, I want to express our appreciation to our partners in this project for their vision, expertise and care which has resulted in the preservation and repurposing of a beautiful example of our city’s historic architecture in a manner that serves the needs of the University and the greater Scranton community,” said Father Quinn.

Built in the early 1900s, the 43,000 square foot, three-story building is listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.

“Our renovations kept intact the historic façade and much of the interior layout, while upgrading the facility with energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems, safety and security systems, a new roof and new windows,” said Tom Romanowski, president and CEO of Greenspace Properties.

The adaptive reuse of the facility won the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Scranton Awards for Growth and Excellence – better know as the SAGE Award – for Pride & Progress in Interior Renovations.

The early learning center occupies the first floor of the three-story building. The second and third floors have been converted into one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that have a configuration that is comparable to the University’s other apartment-style offerings. The apartments are operated by the University and used primarily for graduate students.

“The collaboration expanded much-needed early-learning center options for families in our community, as well as for members of the University’s faculty and staff. In addition, this project addresses the University’s pressing need for additional student housing, especially at the graduate level in such high-demand areas as occupational therapy, business, nurse anesthesia and physical therapy,” said Edward Steinmetz, senior vice president for finance and administration.

The unique partnership also provides support for pre-kindergarten scholarships and extends learning opportunities for University students.

“The University has been approved as an eligible pre-kindergarten scholarship organization by Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. This designation allows eligible businesses to contribute a portion of their state tax dollars to the University to be used as scholarships for eligible families,” said William Grant, CEO, Hildebrandt Learning Centers. “The center also provides an opportunity for students enrolled in a wide range of majors to interact with young children affording them valuable experience to augment their classroom instructions.”

Following the ceremony, Debra Pellegrino, Ed.D., dean of the University’s Panuska College of Professional Studies, read to children in the pre-school program. The Panuska College of Professional Studies houses Scranton’s education, counseling, physical therapy and occupational therapy programs, among other programs.

Greenspace Properties is a West Pittston-based real estate development firm owned by Clifford K. Melberger. Greenspace acquired the vacant property in 2008 and subsequently developed an initial vision for its use in conjunction with R+D Architecture and Martin Rogers Engineering Consultants. The firm successfully sought and received an Economic Growth Initiative grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support renovations.

Based in Dallas, Hildebrandt Learning Centers currently manages 47 centers and employs more than 1,000 early childhood educators. The new center at The University of Scranton follows Hildebrandt’s well-established approach that encourages development and learning of each child through age-appropriate curriculum, play, individualized assessments and nurturing relationships.

 

Debra A. Pellegrino Ed.D.

Dean Pellegrino discusses tips to encourage your child to read and choosing age appropriate books  in a series of video interviews on the University’s YouTube channel.

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