The independent health system will receive a portion of the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding to help rebuild its early childhood education center.
DOYLESTOWN, PA – Doylestown Health held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday, December 4, for the new Children’s Village, which will be rebuilt on the Doylestown Hospital campus for a scheduled opening in 2023. Sen. Steven J. Santarsiero, who was present, congratulated the independent health system on the recent news that it will also receive a $2 million grant award from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).
Donors, local officials, legislators, and families and staff of Children’s Village gathered near the construction site Saturday morning to mark the ceremonial commencement of the rebuild project. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Sen. Santarsiero, Rep. Shelby Labs, and Doylestown Township Supervisor Barbara Lyons were present as speakers, alongside Jim Brexler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Doylestown Health, Joan Parlee, Chair of the Boards of Doylestown Hospital and Doylestown Health Foundation, and Barbara Ann Price, President of the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown (VIA).
Also present as guests were Rep. Todd Polinchock, Rep. Wendi Thomas, former Rep. Marguerite Quinn (who now serves on the Doylestown Hospital Board of Trustees), former Sen. Charles T. McIlhinney, Doylestown Mayor Ron Strouse, Doylestown Borough Council President Jack O’Brien, Doylestown Township Manager Stephanie Mason, Doylestown Chief of Police Dean Logan, and Vail Garvin, President of the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical projects. The RACP grant was announced to the audience on Saturday, and Brexler took the opportunity to thank the legislators who advocated on behalf of Doylestown Health. Santarsiero, in particular, was a key figure in championing Doylestown Health for state funding.
“Doylestown Health is honored to be awarded $2 million from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program,” Brexler said in a statement Friday. “This significant funding will allow us to rebuild Children’s Village and renew our commitment to serving the families of our community, as we have since our founding by the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown. We would like to thank Sen. Santarsiero and the Governor’s office for their support of this important capital initiative, and for empowering Doylestown Health to rebuild our early childhood education center to serve the children of this community.”
The former Children’s Village, which operated on the hospital campus for 35 years, was destroyed by a tornado in August 2020. Soon after, Doylestown Health announced that a rebuild would be a new priority of ONE VISION: The Campaign for Doylestown Health, and demolition took place this November. The early childhood education center will continue to operate out of a leased location on Ferry Road and temporary structures at Doylestown Hospital until the new center is opened in 2023.
The project has received the early support of Jeanne and John Hubbard, PhD, who are matching up to $1.5 million in gifts. On Saturday, Barbara Ann Price also announced a $10,000 gift from the VIA to the rebuild project. “Gifts of all sizes are not only an investment in rebuilding and capital construction at Doylestown Health, but in our children,” says Laura Wortman, Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Doylestown Health. “Children’s Village is helping to shape the future of our community through its excellent educational and child care standards. Every gift to the program is an investment in that future.”
The new child care center will be built on the same site as the old one in the northwest corner of the Doylestown Hospital campus, and designed by Design Resources Group, Architects, AIA, Inc. of Somerset, New Jersey. “The new Children’s Village will be built to meet the evolving needs of our community, and specially designed to foster a positive learning environment with ample opportunities for play,” said Joan Parlee in her remarks on Saturday. “With this groundbreaking, we are launching a new era for Children’s Village in keeping with the standards of excellence established by the founding women of the VIA.”
Design features include 16 classrooms for five age groups, from infancy through kindergarten; a library; a teaching kitchen; an art studio; a multipurpose room for gatherings and fitness; an outdoor play space; enhanced safety and security features; and an adherence to environmentally friendly building standards. Doylestown Health is taking the rebuild project as an opportunity to invest in enhanced programming—such as the teaching kitchen and art studio—that the former Children’s Village did not have. Similar visionary plans have already unfolded through the One Vision Campaign in multiple areas of service across the health system.
Also present at the groundbreaking were Gianluca Ferraguti, age 5, and his parents, Katie and Steve Ferraguti. Gianluca was a student at Children’s Village when the tornado struck, and was evacuated with the others to safety. His great-grandmother sent him a story she wrote to help alleviate his fear of severe weather in the aftermath of the storm, and the family had it published as “Teddy Bear Come Home”. Proceeds from sales of the book support the rebuild of Children’s Village. Gianluca was invited to pose with a shovel alongside Doylestown Health leadership and local officials during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Support for the project is still needed to advance completion, as insurance only covers a portion of the total cost. To date, nearly $500,000 has been contributed to the $1.5 Million Children’s Village Challenge Match. For more information on the project, including live construction updates, renderings, and how to lend support, visit DoylestownHealthFoundation.org/ChildrensVillage.
About Children’s Village
Children’s Village is a fully licensed early childhood education center accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and holding a STAR-4 rating (the highest) in the Pennsylvania Keystone STARS Quality Initiative. Serving children from six weeks of age through kindergarten, Children’s Village is also licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Carefully designed curriculum at Children’s Village employs Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and concentrates on the behavioral, social, emotional, and intellectual well-being and growth of each individual student. It has operated as part of Doylestown Health since 1986.
About ONE VISION: The Campaign for Doylestown Health
Doylestown Health is beginning a bold new chapter as we approach our second century of healthcare delivery. To honor our centennial, Doylestown Health launched a $100-million comprehensive campaign, ONE VISION: The Campaign for Doylestown Health, to elevate the patient experience to new heights and unlock our full potential to deliver exceptional care.
Philanthropic support of the One Vision Campaign funds transformational renovation and expansion across the Doylestown Hospital and Pine Run campuses and will help chart the course for the next generation of patients, providers and technology. For more information, visit the Doylestown Health Foundation website or call 215-345-2009.
About Doylestown Health Foundation
As the philanthropic arm of Doylestown Health, Doylestown Health Foundation raises funds to support patient care excellence and improve quality of life for the patients and families we serve. Doylestown Health relies on each and every philanthropic gift, no matter the size, to deliver the highest level of patient care with the most advanced technologies and treatment options.