Founded in 1963, Montessori Children’s House had already relocated from its original, two-classroom building in Blue Bell, PA to a church in Wayne, PA when the school’s leadership learned that Valley Forge National Historical Park intended to lease the nearby Ivy Hollow Farm. Located on 3.5 acres within the Park and featuring a mansion, barn and stables, the site would provide an appropriate atmosphere for the unique Montessori curriculum, and allow for the expansion of the school’s programs. With that in mind, Montessori Children’s House began a long negotiation with the Park, eventually securing a 40-year lease.

Despite the many intrinsic values of the property, the 18th-century mansion and barn were in need of restoration and renovation to truly serve the school’s needs. In addition to accessibility and safety updates, the barn was to be converted into administrative space and a large, multi-purpose room, while the mansion was to become classroom and office space on the ground floor with faculty apartments upstairs. Further, a new, two-story building was to be built on the site of the demolished stables and connected to the barn, providing six new classrooms. CVMNEXT became involved during the project’s design, evaluating options and creating cost models to aid stakeholder decision-making, and was eventually awarded the general contracting contract through a traditional open-bid process. Working closely with municipal and National Park Service officials, CVMNEXT successfully navigated the complexities of building on this sensitive, historic site.

The project was honored with the Preservation Award from the Historic Architectural Review Board of Tredyffrin Township and an Honor Award from the AIA of Bucks County.

Location: Wayne, PA
Architect: Spiezle Architectural Group