Demolition to start June 13 at The Hickman

Sharpless-Hall to be taken down to allow for new, better building

The Sharpless-Hall Building at The Hickman will begin demolition next week.

The Sharpless-Hall Building at The Hickman will begin demolition next week.

WEST CHESTER — As part of its plans to serve more Elders in West Chester, The Hickman, Friends Senior Community is scheduled to begin demolition of the existing Sharpless-Hall Building. In its place will be a new, larger building that will include a secure dementia program.  This new program will be located on the first floor and the only one of its kind in West Chester.  Demolition is scheduled to begin the week of June 13, 2016 with the new building slated to open in late 2017. 

Construction of the new building likely will commence during the summer of 2016 after demolition and site preparation.  Additionally and reflecting The Hickman’s Quaker values and commitment to sustainability, The Hickman is working to recycle, repurpose and salvage as much of the existing buildings’ equipment and materials as possible.  The Hickman has contracted with Benchmark Construction as General Contractor for the project, The new building also reflects a design in keeping with the general character of the surrounding neighborhood.

“We are thrilled by the progress represented by the demolition milestone as we prepare to construct a new facility designed to meet the needs for the population we serve today and those we will serve in the future,” said Mark Snyder, Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Hickman.  “After careful deliberation on how best to address the changing needs of seniors in our community, this new building will offer area residents an updated, enhanced and programmatically appropriate facility for seniors who choose to live in a community setting as well as those who need increased assistance and care.”     

The current 3-story, 28-unit Sharpless-Hall Building, is actually two buildings constructed in 1893 and 1896 and eventually connected to form one structure.  It was originally designed as a boarding home for 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; this has led to an increased need for personal care services.  For these reasons and more it became increasingly clear that the existing structure 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 forty current residents, several of whom were relocated from Sharpless-Hall, will continue to live in the Hickman Building during the construction process.  Demolition will take place during summer recess of West Chester Friends School to minimize disruption and traffic at the site.  Although street access and traffic on North Walnut and East Marshall may be disrupted during construction, every effort will be made to limit disruption and closures.  More detailed information regarding construction activities will be issued in the coming weeks and months.  Once construction begins, updates will be regularly posted on Facebook to keep neighbors and area residents informed.  For detailed information on what to expect at and near the construction site, please visit

The new structure, yet to be named, will be a 3-story, gable roof building featuring a secure, first-floor dementia care program with a dedicated outdoor garden. Supportive living and personal care services will be available on the 2nd and 3rd floors.  Following a “household model” design, the new building will provide for more intimate living and opportunities for social interaction.  Country kitchens and multiple dining rooms are also planned to offer more choice regarding residents’ dining experience. 

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