Groundbreaking celebration heralds construction of Preston at Barclay Friends

New Personal Care Residence – Coming Spring 2020

West Chester, Pennsylvania, May 7, 2019 — “We are here today because so many have helped us to arrive at this moment,” said Linda Sterthous, Barclay Friends’ Executive Director, May 1 surrounded by neighbors, staff and more than a half dozen dignitaries from West Chester Borough and Chester County. “There are so many to thank, I would miss someone if I tried to name them all. So, just let me say ‘Thank you’ to all of you who have helped us get to this day. We are eternally grateful.”

Those participating in the groundbreaking celebration included (above, from left): Kendal President and CEO Sean Kelly; Barclay Friends incoming Board Chair John Braceland; Barclay Friends Executive Director Linda Sterthous; Barclay Friends Marketing Director Faith Woodward; West Chester Mayor Herrin; Barclay Friends Board Chair Elizabeth Guman; Kendal Vice President for Development David Jones; Bernardon Architects Principal Tim Cassidy; and Warfel Construction President Matt Hartzler.

Since fire destroyed the Woolman building in November 2017, Barclay Friends has been on a journey to build a new residential living and personal care residence for older adults in need of care and support.

Excavation in preparation for the construction of a new building where the Woolman Building once stood began the week of April 8. Named Preston, after 19th-century Quaker physician Ann Preston, this state-of-the-art building will offer residents spacious apartments, a wide range of activities and quality health care services in a modern setting.

Preston will have 60 apartments, including 20 apartments for residents in need of secure memory care. The look and feel of Preston will be intimate, with small “neighborhoods,” or clusters of rooms, to help residents feel more at-home and comfortable. The layout will afford opportunities to enjoy natural light in the building, and residents will have easy access to gardens in the back of the property, where they can walk, spend time outside and garden.

Preston will be constructed from steel and concrete. The exterior will feature brick, stone and siding known for its attractiveness, as well as durability and flame-retardant properties. Warfel Construction is building the 61,000 square-foot project, designed in collaboration by Bernardon and SFCS. Plans currently call for completion of construction early in 2020.

“We all know the past year and a half has been challenging for the Barclay Friends and for our community,” West Chester Mayor Dianne Herrin said. “But I’ve been so  impressed because the board and the administrators of Barclay Friends have pushed forward with an incredible vision and an undying commitment to its residents and their families. And what they have done has been reflective of the Quaker tradition. They have done so with integrity, with a strong sense of community and with a great sense of stewardship.”

In her comments at the groundbreaking celebration Elizabeth Guman, Barclay Friends Board Chair, included this quote from author Julia Alvarez: “In some ways we become brave, almost by accident. Something happens and we respond to that challenge courageously and compassionately. But really all along the way to that something big happening, we’ve been cultivating a compassionate heart.”

“Today, we honor the residents, volunteers, staff, Board members, neighbors and community members who came together to live out this work of creating a compassionate heart for the amazing and beautiful people who are the older adults in our community,” Guman said. “So, on behalf of the board, thank you for being part of this moment and standing with us today.”

“This is the beginning of a new era for Barclay Friends, to be sure,” said Kendal President and CEO Sean Kelly. “Getting to this place, right here, right now, is a story that wants to be told over and over again. I am honored to be a part of this conversation and a part of this group—and I’m just thrilled for what is to come.”

Updates about Preston’s construction will be posted on Facebook and on the community’s website. To learn more about this project, or request information about wait lists, contact Faith Woodward at (610) 918-3432 or

Preston Coming in 2020 sign before construction site

Posted by Larry Elveru