Hickman breaks ground on new building

The Hickman broke ground for a new building this past week. Joining the ceremony were: Adam Heffernan, Greenbrier Development, Barry Stingel, Advanced Geo Services, Stuart Smith, Benchmark Construction, Ken Witek, Hickman Board Member, Mike Gigalonis, Chester County Economic Development Council, Mark Snyder, Hickman Board Chair, Patrick McKenna, Gawthrop Greenwood, Joyce Lenhardt, Lenhardt Rogers Architect
Aaron Sims, HJ Sims and Mayor Carolyn Comitta, Borough of West Chester.

WEST CHESTER — The Hickman Friends Senior Living Community of West Chester broke ground on a new building at the corner of Walnut and Marshall streets in West Chester. The new building will not only increase the number of seniors to be served but will also bring a much-needed non-medical dementia program to Chester County. 

The building, yet to be named, which will provide a supportive living environment for up to 74 individuals. It will replace the Sharpless-Hall Building that only served 28 individuals; the Sharpless-Hall Building was demolished in July.

In celebrating this event, remarks were provided by West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta, representatives from Senator Andrew Dinniman, and members of the Board of Directors, staff and project team. The project teams includes Greenbrier Development, Dallas, TX, Benchmark Construction Company, Inc., Brownstown, PA, as the general contractor and Lenhardt Rodgers as architect.  The new building has been designed following a neighborhood model with housing, dining and social opportunities available on each of the three floors. The first floor of the new building, with its corresponding outdoor garden, will offer more specialized dementia care for those who need a secure environment. 

The Hickman also took the opportunity to announce the public phase of its capital campaign to help fund the construction of the new building.  Board members Hank Schellenger announced that $1.7 million has been raised from the community toward the new building thus far.

The previous 3-story, 28-unit Sharpless-Hall Building, was two buildings constructed more than 120 years ago, in 1893 and 1896. These two buildings were eventually connected to form one structure.  It was originally designed for the care of older single women who had no families to support them.  Over the past 125 years, The Hickman’s resident population has transitioned to now include men, seniors of all faiths and from all walks of life.  In the past 15 years, The Hickman’s average age of entry has gone from 75 to 85 years of age.  As a result, residents are moving in with greater physical needs and less mental acuity including dementia leading to an increased need for personal care services.  For these reasons and more, it became increasingly clear that the former Sharpless-Hall Building could no longer support The Hickman’s mission of delivering quality personal care services to an aging resident population in an affordable community environment. 

The Hickman, a senior living community open to all in the heart of West Chester, is guided by Quaker principles and traditions, and provides individualized care and assistance to older adults who seek a safe and affordable community living environment.  The Hickman prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive environment for residents, their families, staff and volunteers regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, ability or sexual preference.

For more information about this project and The Hickman Friends Senior Community of West Chester, contact Pamela Leland, Executive Director at 484-760-6415.

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