Milton Hershey School, Catherine Hall

Hershey, Pennsylvania

After standing vacant for years, the 1930s-era “Old Senior Hall,” partially designed by Milton Hershey himself and a hilltop landmark overlooking the town of Hershey, was given a new lease on life, much to the pleasure of the school’s alumni, who loved the building and the memories it held. The architect was charged with designing the conversion of this historic ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY950FEATURED IN2007 Architectural Portfolio to a state-of-the-art middle school for an expanding student body.

The Milton Hershey School identified those portions of the building that held iconic status. The architect designed the project and advised the Milton Hershey School to return the building to its original splendor, while retrofitting it for 21st-century middle school needs. Rearward portions of the building that could not be adapted for current programmatic needs were razed and replaced with new construction designed in a clean, modern style that paid deference to the historic front portions of the building. Deteriorating structural elements were identified and rebuilt.

The stately front facade still reigns over the city below, but the functional entrance was moved to the new construction on the west side. Here, students enter into a commons area adorned by aerial sculptures that provide an atmosphere of spatial enthusiasm, fun and surprise in keeping with the middle school student’s educational journey.