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Case Study - Schmucker Hall Restoration - Gettysburg, PA

About this Project

Morgan-Keller received the honor of transforming Schmucker Hall, located on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, into a modern LEED Certified museum that would depict the role the building played during the Civil War era. Constructed in 1832, Schmucker Hall initially served as a dormitory, administration offices, and classrooms for the oldest Lutheran Seminary in the United States. The first engagement of the Battle of Gettysburg was fought on Seminary Ridge in and around Schmucker Hall, which was commandeered by both armies as a hospital that treated thousands of Civil War casualties and where a few precious artifacts were left behind.

The Challenge

The goal of the project was to update the four-story, 20,000 SF building to meet modern accessibility standards; repair structural deficiencies; and install modern mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, while maintaining the historic integrity of the building.

The Solution

Morgan-Keller worked collaboratively with two joint venture partners - The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and the Adams County Historical Society to make the vision of the Seminary Ridge Museum a reality. Below we have outlined the enhancements that Morgan-Keller made to the building in order to accomplish the goals of the project:

  • A new elevator was installed to provide floor-to-floor access and two new ADA accessible restrooms were installed in the lower level.
  • New structural openings were cut into the walls to open the floor plan for the museum and the building entrances/porches were renovated. 
  • The original windows and plaster walls were inspected.  At the windows, only rotten wood was removed and replaced.  New storm windows were installed on the interior of the windows to reduce air infiltration.
  • At the walls, the plaster was inspected and repaired as necessary to maintain as much of the original finishes of the building as possible. 
  • New drywall ceilings were installed throughout the building and the existing wood floors were repaired using salvaged flooring from the demolition and painted. 

A new geothermal HVAC system was installed, which included 40 new wells drilled in the site with 18 pumps concealed within framed cabinets in the attic and new ductwork concealed above the ceilings.  The existing 5’4” basement was excavated by hand in order to lower the floor to provide the required space for the new mechanical equipment.  To service the new sprinkler system, a fire pump was installed underground in a vault outside of the building.  The original building wiring was completely replaced with modern power, data, and lighting.

The Result

This sensitive historic restoration was handled in such a way that the project was completed on time and on budget, in a tightly scheduled time frame, allowing the museum to open on schedule for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1, 2013.  The new Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum depicts the moral, civic, and spiritual debates of the Civil War era; the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg fought at Seminary Ridge; and the care of the wounded and human suffering that took place within Schmucker Hall during its use as a field hospital.

Barbara Franco, Founding Executive Director of the Seminary Ridge Museum, had this to say about Morgan-Keller: “Morgan-Keller’s professionalism and high quality work deserves national recognition as a model project. The thousands of visitors who have already visited the museum voice their appreciation for the building’s new life as a museum.”

 

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