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Scotland School for Veterans' Children

According to a state website, "Founded in 1895, SSVC is the only residential school in the nation specifically designed and accredited to educate and care for the children of Pennsylvania military service veterans. Over 10,000 graduates have gone on to distinguish themselves in a wide variety of careers and endeavors. The school curriculum includes a JROTC program, strong academics, caring homelife program, accomplished sports teams, and alumni and parent support."

State budget cuts closed the 185-acre campus in 2009, leaving 70 buildings that include a school, library, gym, pool, theater, rec hall, housing, a chapel, machine shops, and a stunning administration building to the same fate as many other large closed state facilities: slow deterioration. As of 2013, many of the buildings were in pristine condition, but several were showing signs of decay.

Unlike many such stories though, this one has a happy ending: in 2013 the Winebrenner Theological Seminary finalized a $1.8 million dollar deal to purchase and rehabilitate the campus. Work is already underway to return buildings to use, and the Seminary is planning a multipurpose restoration that will include senior care facilities, classrooms, and partnerships with other schools and agencies.

Having met with members of the Seminary and witnessed firsthand the work they are doing and how quickly they are returning buildings to functionality, I am very optimistic about the future of the SSVC. While the loss of the school as an institution creates a large gap in the care for the children of those who serve their country - and to call this regrettable is an understatement - the fact that the campus is now under the stewardship of an organization with an eye towards keeping the buildings intact and using them for the greater good is heartening, to say the least.

Photographs and unattributed text by Matthew Christopher. For more images click the thumbnails below.