Elder Hall

Elder Hall Training Academy

Elizabethtown, PA

Pennsylvania Department of General Services


2013 – Programming and Schematic Design (Completed by S. Harris Ltd.)
Ongoing – Roof replacement


Elder Hall Training Academy is operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), and is located in Elizabethtown,PA. Originally constructed as the State Hospital for Crippled Children, it was designed by Thomas, Martin & Kirkpatrick Architects. The majority of the building was built in 1925 (operational in 1930), and then two wings were added on the south side of the building in 1941. The building functioned as the hospital until the 1980s when it was converted a training facility for the Department of Corrections.

The Classical Revival masonry building is adorned with glazed terra cotta medallions on various elevations of the building of which several remain. Where others have been removed, the circular ghost can be seen by the brick infill pattern. Brick masonry coursing with varying colors provides decorative patterns, while terra cotta copings and blocks add visual interest to the building. The open air porches have since been enclosed with fenestrated walls, but the original heavy terra cotta roof and copper flashings remain original to the building’s construction.


S. Harris Ltd. was retained to provide architectural and engineering services for a roof replacement of the existing terra cotta roofing tiles. As part of the combined Programming and Schematic Design Phase, a comprehensive assessment was necessary to determine the options available to the Department of General Services (DGS) and DOC. It was also imperative for our design team to investigate all of the roofing areas to identify the problematic areas of the building so that the scope of roofing replacement work could be designed and prioritized accordingly.

J&M Preservation Studio will continue the work started under S. Harris Ltd. by moving forward with the design development for the terra cotta roof replacement. J&M will also be analyzing the brick masonry envelope to determine if additional work is necessary to maintain a watertight building.