Cheyney University Historic Resource Impact Study

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Wise Preservation Planning LLC
      1480 Hilltop Road
      Chester Springs PA 19425
      Phone (484) 202-8187

Wise Preservation Planning LLC is a full-service historic preservation planning firm. We research, document, analyze and ultimately help protect historic resources and our cultural landscape. Our firm serves a variety of clients, including municipalities, engineers, architects, historical societies, and owners of historic resources.

The firm was founded in 1997 by Robert J. Wise Jr., who has 20 years of experience in the historic preservation field. He is assisted by Seth Hinshaw, Senior Planner, who has been with the firm since 2001. Both planners have M.S. degrees in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and exceed the 36 CFR 61 Professional Qualification Standards established by the National Park Service for architectural historians.


Wise Preservation Planning LLC completed a Historic Resource Impact Study for Cheyney University in 2010. The Study was submitted per Thornbury Township, Delaware County historic resource protection ordinance. The project involved the demolition of the non-historic Robinson Hall Dormitory (and later two other dormitories in the residential complex) and the construction of a new residential complex of buildings. The study was required because the proposed project was adjacent to several identified historic resources, including the University's early 20th century Quadrangle. The "Quad", consisting of substantial stone buildings, is the heart of the campus.
In recent years, the University has renovated several historic buildings and has started to relocate activities to the historic Quad. Major recommendations by Wise called for reducing any negative impact of the new construction upon the Quad and in fact visually and functionally integrating the new complex with specific historic resources within the Quad.
Cheyney University is the current name of an institution that was founded in Philadelphia in 1837. It operated under the guidance of a board of Quakers until the early 20th century. The campus relocated to Thornbury Township in 1903. Buildings on the historic Quad were built during the first three decades of the 20th century, partially during the long presidency of Leslie P. Hill (1913-1951). During the 1960s and 1970s, Cheyney extended the campus off the Quad. Robinson Hall was built on the site of the former Elkinton Athletic Field in 1964. Cheyney became a University in 1983, and with the passage of time, it has been increasingly interested in the re-use of its historic buildings. The image on the left shows the architects' rendering of the proposed new residence hall.
The Impact Study recommendations were generally accepted by the University and the Township. The report commended Cheyney University for its foresight in planning for the future of its campus. The reconstruction project is now underway.