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Nonprofit to transform York Armory into children's learning center

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Artistic rendering of the completed Keystone Kidspace
Artistic rendering of the completed Keystone Kidspace - (Photo / )

York County nonprofit Keystone Kidspace has raised $5 million as part of its efforts to transform the York Armory into a premier experiential learning center.

The campaign's goal is to reach $6 million to help pay for reinventing the more than 100-year-old armory starting this summer.

When the project is complete and the doors open in 2020, the facility is expected to house a variety of spaces that will encourage exploration and collaboration through play by integrating art, science, technology and engineering, according to a news release.

"Thanks to the generosity of our early donors, we have already raised nearly $5 million. That is 80 percent of our goal,” said Jennifer Tansey, co-founder and capital campaign co-chair. The campaign is titled Play with Purpose.

The project also received a $2 million grant from the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, Tansey said.

Jessica Brubaker, co-founder and executive director of Kidspace, said the project is coming to fruition after four years of planning.

“York families need a place to call their own and Keystone Kidspace will fill that void,” she said.

The National Guard Armory, at 369 N. George St. in York, is a two-story building erected in 1913 in the late Gothic Revival style. It will provide Keystone Kidspace with more than 16,000 square feet of space.

Once renovated, it will include a large mess hall for large-scale and potentially messy art activities, a kitchen lab for chemistry and culinary exploration, a digital lab with 3D printers, circuit components and green screens, a great hall with movable exhibits, and an event space for large community gathering.

There will also be maker tool bar that seats children for tabletop workshops in creative writing and coding, a café and outdoor patio for families, and studios and workshops for programs offered by Keystone Kidspace.

Contributions will fund site acquisition, architectural and engineering services, construction costs, exhibit design and fabrication, furniture, fixtures and equipment, capital campaign expenses and a working capital reserve for startup operations.

Construction is slated to begin with a groundbreaking in summer 2019. Online donations are still being accepted at www.keystonekidspace.org/the-campaign.

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Maria Yohn Nease

Maria Yohn Nease covers banking, finance and York county. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at mnease@cpbj.com.

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