The Center for Healthy Children Renovation


The Center for Healthy Children is an unprecedented opportunity for Penn State to serve as a national resource for child maltreatment research and training. After receiving a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to establish the first-of-its-kind center to study child maltreatment prevention and treatment, the university needed to act quickly to understand the facility requirements of this new program and provide the right space to facilitate the vital research, training, and services the center provides.

The grant stipulated that the center be open by July 1, 2017, leaving Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant a mere 209 days to design and renovate the center’s new home on the second floor of the historic Henderson Building. The university recognized that a traditional design-bid-build approach would not be possible under this tight timeframe. The team that was created with a designer and contractor essentially functioned as a design-build team. By working as a cohesive unit from the onset of the project, the university, design professionals, and general contractor expedited the entire renovation process and delivered the project on time within a limited budget.

What We Did

Gannett Fleming provided architectural and engineering design services for the renovation of the 2,640-square-foot suite. Our architects worked with the university’s stakeholders to quickly solidify a design concept to provide the 13 individual offices, reception area, blood draw room, restroom, kitchenette, and conference room required by the program. Gannett Fleming engineers designed all new electrical and HVAC systems, including modifications to a perimeter hot water loop system with convection units and a new variable-air-volume heating and cooling system. New plumbing was needed for the kitchenette and restroom, requiring extensive investigation for supply and sanitary tie-in. Electrical design included all new power, lighting, data, and security systems.

The contractor was engaged throughout the project, and together the team overcame obstacles presented by an aging building, asbestos removal, and the need to keep the building operational throughout construction. Despite the aggressive schedule, The Center for Healthy Children opened on time under the spotlight of national media coverage. The renovated suite provides an environment that is calm, welcoming, and sensitive to the nature of the center’s important work.

Key Features

  • Interview rooms incorporate sound-proofing measures to ensure the privacy of children and their families.
  • A blood-draw lab offers patients convenient access to medical testing within the center.
  • A secure network of microphones and cameras protect the sensitive information collected as part of the center’s research and treatment programs.
  • Track lighting and a gallery-style hanging system showcase a rotating exhibit of children’s artwork along the center’s hallways.
  • New mechanical and electrical systems improve the performance and comfort of the suite.


  • Renovations were completed in seven months to allow the center to meet grant requirements.
  • The new suite provides a calming and welcoming environment for children and their families.
  • Both the design process and the results received high praise from the center’s staff.


The Pennsylvania State University


University Park, Pa.


Architecture, Mechanical, Electrical, Interior Design

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