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  • LPA Inc. rendering of the Healy Murphy Child Development Center. Courtesy: HDRC records.

San Antonio: Healy Murphy Center to Add Child Development Center

Feature Illustration (above): LPA Inc. rendering of the Healy Murphy Child Development Center, as seen from above the Nolan and Chestnut intersection. Courtesy: HDRC records.

UPDATE: 9-6-2018 — The Historic and Design Review Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness on the designs presented by Healy Murphy Center for a Child Development Center.

Healy Murphy Executive Director Douglas Watson told VBX that demolition of most existing structures should begin by October. In an August 31 solicitation, three general contractors were pre-approved to submit bids and they are due Sept. 14, he said.

Watson put the estimated construction cost of the center at $5.3 million. He emphasized that work had to begin within a month in order to meet a deadline for the federal new markets tax credits (NMTC) obtained to attract financing. He estimated the Child Development Center would be complete by mid-summer 2019.

The commissioners approved the construction plans, but on condition that one house on site–which they found to be of historic significance–be relocated to a neighborhood in Dignowity Hill with housing stock of approximately the same period. Mitsuko Ramos, agent for the nonprofit organization, said the house would be relocated to 424 Lamar Street.

An Office of Historic Preservation review of a commercial stucco structure concluded that it could be demolished along with the corrugated metal storage buildings around it. Staff also objected to the location of a parking lot at the corner of Chestnut and Nolan streets, however, Ramos, Watson and the project architect were able to convince commissioners that it was to be used strictly as temporary parking to drop off and pick up children.

They noted also that it was necessary to keep parents and guardians entering the new building detached from parking and other access entries of Healy Murphy in order to maintain state licenses. This is because of the criminal background and probationary status of some adults that restrict where they may go.

After reviewing the site plan and hearing the reasons for its configuration, HDRC Chairman Michael Guarino said he was not aware that Healy Murphy did not own the entire block and thus was limited as to how the Child Development Center and its drop-off lot could be designed.

The interior playground, as illustrated by LPA Inc., the architects on the project. Courtesy: LPA Inc.

The interior playground, as illustrated by LPA Inc., the architects on the project. Courtesy: LPA Inc.


Originally Posted: 9-4-2018

by Adolfo Pesquera

San Antonio (Bexar County)Healy Murphy Center Inc. and the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Immaculate Inc. will present plans Wednesday to the Historic and Design Review Commission for a new Child Development Center.

The proposed project is a one-story building with surface parking and a private courtyard that is designed for children’s activities. To meet city requirements for new developments, the project will include some public infrastructure improvements, including the partial closure of one block of Live Oak Street to motor vehicles in order to provide pedestrian and cyclist access.

This project is being accomplished in coordination with the Brooklyn StrEat Food Park being constructed on the north (rear) side of Healy Murphy, and the tenants and visitors to both properties are intended to benefit. Along the pedestrian path, there will also be an herb garden for the use of Healy Murphy students and the enjoyment of patrons to the food park.

The site location covers most of the east half of the 600 block of Chestnut and reaches north to where the Brooklyn StrEat Food Park is being developed. Courtesy: HDRC records.

The site location covers most of the east half of the 600 block of Chestnut and reaches north to where the Brooklyn StrEat Food Park is being developed. Courtesy: HDRC records.

Healy Murphy is requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the one-story child development center, with a height of 17 feet-8 inches. It is to be located in the 600 block of Chestnut Street, at the corner of Chestnut and Nolan Street. It occupies an irregular plot that includes the southeast corner and of the block and extends up the center of the block to Burnet Street.

The agent for Healy Murphy, Mitsuko Ramos of Government Relations Group of Texas, met with the HDRC’s Design Review Committee on Aug. 8. According to the Office of Historic Preservation brief to the commission, “The DRC noted that the proposed parking configuration is inconsistent with the Downtown Development Guide, and suggested some alternative locations that would still potentially maintain the amount of square footage required for the buildings. (Ramos) indicated that they had explored multiple iterations in the conceptual design phase and that the current proposed solution is the most feasible. The DRC recommended that the applicant provide the Commission with these sketches and design explorations to help justify the proposed parking solution.”

The DRC commended Ramos on the scale, massing and choice of materials but suggested the architect explore a more visually permeable site wall.

Several old industrial structures are standing on the project site, most of them made of corrugated steel siding and roofing. However, they are eligible for demolition. There is also a wooden one-story building with stucco cladding that has been identified an eligible historic resource and will get a separate hearing by the HDRC tomorrow.

Site plan for the Child Development Center and auxiliary parking. Courtesy: HDRC records.

Site plan for the Child Development Center and auxiliary parking. Courtesy: HDRC records.

Wrought iron fencing is proposed to be placed on the perimeter of the parking lot. There is a landscaping concept that will include flowering vines to cover portions of the fences. City staff is opposed to the location of the parking lot and recommending it be relocated to an interior location. Access to the site, as presented in the site plan by LPA Inc. is from Nolan and Chestnut. A second lot is proposed the occupies the north central portion of the block.

The new building will mimic certain features of the Healy Murphy Church, such as the red standing seam metal roof and metal window systems. Siding will be of white stucco with a trowel finish.

DBR Engineering Consultants Inc. is the project MEP. Alpha Consulting Engineers Inc. is the structural engineer, Ramos said.


613 Chestnut Street: Finding of Historic Significance

Tied to the Child Development Center project is the fate two buildings at 613 Chestnut. If the HDRC allows it, the Office of Historic Preservation is seeking the owner’s permission to designate one of them of historic significance and present them to the Zoning Commission.

The Designation and Demolition Committee has found it appropriate to to relocate the easternmost structure to a neighborhood with similar historic development.

The early 20th century house (left) and white stucco commercial building (right) under consideration for historic designations. Image: Google Streets.

The early 20th century house (left) was given a historically significant finding Sept. 5 by the HDRC. Image: Google Streets.

OHP Staff Comments–Residential Structure, c. 1901:

This single story vernacular structure has a cross gabled roof with standing seam metal, a full front attached porch with a shed roof, and a symmetrical front façade with two front entrances. The two front doors retain their original wood jigsaw detailing and each has a half-light that is boarded up. The porch decking appears original but there have been modifications to the porch fascia and supports; the fascia and porch columns are iron and appear to be non-original to the structure.

There are two original decorative brackets flanking the porch roof that provide a Folk Victorian influence. There is a transom window above each door and two-over-two wood windows throughout the home. A brick chimney can be seen in the middle of the roof. The existing wood siding is covered by synthetic asbestos siding. The structure has a L-plan with an original rear, side porch along the east façade of the rear wing; the porch has been enclosed with non-original plywood siding. Materials and form appear original with the exception of the asbestos siding, partial porch materials, and the enclosed rear porch.

OHP Staff Comments–Commercial Structure:

Property documents show that there were originally three residential structures between the subject extant residential structure mentioned above and the corner of Nolan and Chestnut. The current commercial structure is a combination of three forms; two double height warehouses with a CMU and steel frames, and corrugated metal siding flanking a one-story wing with stucco siding and steel casement windows. The two side metal wings do not have any windows. The building has both flat and shed roofs and sliding metal doors that are the full height of the building.


Related Images

Construction Preview
By |2018-09-06T10:21:56+00:00September 4th, 2018|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.

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