The need for affordable and supportive housing opportunities for senior citizens and adults with mental illness in Burlington Township, New Jersey—one of the fastest growing municipalities in the state—is a need that has not gone unnoticed by agencies and organizations dedicated to providing help to this often underserved segment of our society. In addition, New Jersey, like many states across the country, has begun to de-institutionalize people with special needs, increasing the number of individuals in need of housing that is not only affordable, but also tailored to their unique requirements.
Springside School Apartments—a joint venture development project of Moorestown Ecumentical Neighborhood Development (MEND) and Conifer Realty, LLC is one such affordable supportive housing opportunity that now exists within the Burlington Township landscape. Designated as both a National and State Historic Landmark building, the former Springside Elementary School was originally built in 1915 as a one-room schoolhouse, and known locally to the community as The Mitchell School at Springside. For almost 100 years the school proudly provided the local community with elementary education, finally closing its doors in 2008 after the local Board of Education moved its functions to newer, more modern facilities.
In the fall of 2010, the development partners hired Kitchen & Associates of Collingswood, New Jersey to oversee the historically-sensitive adaptive reuse of the existing school building, as well as the design of a new, two-story attached addition which would ultimately house 43 of the apartment community’s 75 total units aimed at serving low- to moderate-income senior citizens and adults suffering from mental illness. Working in close collaboration with both the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, as well as the National Park Service, Kitchen & Associates was able to successfully integrate the original architectural character of the schoolhouse with the new addition, maintaining consistency and sensitivity throughout the newly designed apartment community.
In order to satisfy the historic preservation design guidelines, Kitchen & Associates, along with the development team, decided to construct a glass corridor between the original building and the new addition, stepping the addition back from the original, and allowing the historic schoolhouse to set the tone for the entire project. Instead of imitating the original building, the architects chose a design that is sympathetic to and compatible with the 99 year-old school structure. As a direct result, the historic nature and character of the original building is clearly dominant within the site, with the addition acting in a secondary and complimentary role.
The program of the new Springside School community offers a fully accessible and contemporary living experience for seniors, providing a full range of modern amenities and a variety of social, medical and community-oriented services. Each apartment unit within the facility features a fully-equipped kitchen outfitted with Energy Star appliances, generous living and dining room areas, fully accessible bathrooms, spacious bedrooms, and individually controlled, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems that meet the Energy Star Homes Program requirements. Building-wide amenities include a large community room in the former school auditorium, an exercise room, social lounges, a computer lab with internet access, a laundry facility, and an office for visiting physicians.
Also included within the program are a variety of non-emergency medical and social services covering everything from assistance with financial entitlement programs and money management; healthcare and mental health treatment; transportation to work, education and off-site treatment programs; daily meal preparation and housekeeping services for the residents; legal referral programs; and a variety of counseling services, including those for nutrition, education, vocation and substance abuse.
The preservation of the Springside Elementary School in accordance with historic preservation guidelines, along with the resulting Springside School Apartment community has become a significant source of pride for the local Board of Education, the Mayor and the Town Council, as well as innumerable local visitors who were students, parents or teachers at the former school. At the ribbon cutting ceremony for the project, one gentleman in his nineties, who had attended the school in the 1920s, remarked that he was quite pleased that his class picture was framed and still hanging in the lobby within a site that holds a great amount of significance and history for many within the local Burlington Township community.
Strategically situated along a major transportation corridor linking the county seat of Molly Holly, through Burlington Township, and on toward the pre-Colonial Era capital of Burlington City along the Delaware River, the project’s historical significance within the Burlington Township fabric is evident. But in the eyes of the township, Springside School Apartments holds a tremendous amount of future relevance as well, as it is expected to act as a major focal point and catalyst for future redevelopment of the area.
For more information regarding this historic project in Burlington Township, please visit the Kitchen & Associates News Page.
ABOUT KITCHEN & ASSOCIATES
Kitchen and Associates Architectural Services, Inc. (K&A) is a 60-person architecture, engineering, planning, interior design, and energy-consulting firm with office locations in both Collingswood, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since 1971 K&A has worked with non-profit organizations, private developers, public agencies, and municipalities to develop multifamily and senior housing, healthcare facilities, schools and universities, workplaces, and community resources that revitalize neighborhoods. For additional information call 856-854-1880, or visit the company’s website at www.kitchenandassociates.com.
Company Name: Kitchen & Associates
Contact Person: Sarah Emigh
Email: Send Email
Address:756 Haddon Avenue
State: New Jersey
Country: United States