Spring on the York College campus

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59 E. Market Street - The Former Lafayette Club gets ready for makeover, Hospitality Management Program connection to York City

October 26, 2016
Lafayette Club
Lafayette Club

At the corner of East Market and North Duke streets, 114 years of history echo in the downtown York building that once housed the former Lafayette Club. It was a place for the business elite to find entertainment, rest and conversation in the late 1800’s, a place where ideas came to life and civic engagement thrived, and a place a community mourned when it closed in 2012.

Soon, though, the building across the street from The Yorktowne Hotel will again open its doors to become a gathering place for the next generation of innovative thinkers and community organizations and institutions.

The quiet, empty rooms will be brought to life as the doors reopen this fall as a learning center for the York College of Pennsylvania’s Hospitality Management Program and Center for Community Engagement.

“The space not only gives us an opportunity for students to learn about food production management, but also to get involved in events and business meetings,” says John Hughes, chair of the school’s Hospitality Management department. “What was an important place for civic activities is being restored by the college with a focus on learning opportunities and community engagement.”

Getting to work

Renovations on the 20,000-square-foot, four-story building began immediately after York College acquired it in late 2015, and the Hospitality Management program will begin working in the basement and first floor upon moving in this fall.

  • The basement, which has an existing kitchen, is being renovated into a food and beverage lab and will be used for experiential class learning. This floor also is home to several small rooms and recesses, which the program aims to develop into chef’s table-style dining spaces in the future.
  • There is a bar and restaurant space on the first floor, which will be built out within the next year, as well as meeting space on the first, second and third floors.
  • The college plans to open the building’s common space to community organizations and institutions, and Hughes envisions Hospitality students catering meetings and events throughout the building. 

 “This landmark building will provide our students with opportunities to learn and hone their skills in a bustling and developing city center,” he says.

Generous donation

After closing to the public, the building at 59 E. Market St. in York was purchased by an anonymous individual who generously donated the structure to York College, Hughes says. The donor knew the college’s Hospitality Management program was in need of space to expand, and chose to donate the building in part, to support this cause.

Beginning this fall, the program will add a series of food production management classes in the newly designed food lab.

“It was something we couldn’t really do here on campus,” Hughes says. “We needed to find a solution. This historic landmark building turns out to be a dream come true and a perfect solution.”  

Dr. Joseph Scarcelli, an associate professor and food and beverage industry expert, will teach many of the classes in the newly renovated building. A former restaurateur and sommelier, Scarcelli will lead students in learning about food preparation and management.

Although York College’s Hospitality Management students do not graduate with a culinary degree, these courses will prepare them with a solid foundation in  food production management  Moreover, in future semesters, students will also study wine, beer and spirit management in the facility.

Growing rapidly

Poised to graduate its second class this spring, Hughes is excited about what the future holds for the Hospitality Management program.

With 100 students currently enrolled and a growing demand in the industry, Hughes knows that the added space and course offerings will help in continuing to set the program apart.

“This generous gift will allow us to enhance the quality of our program and to build enrollment to 300 students over the next four years,” Hughes says. “This goal is achievable and this generous gift makes it possible for our rapidly growing program to compete more effectively with other world class schools of Hospitality Management.”