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Meet the Wagman Family: Our Partners in Construction

When Keystone Kidspace’s co-founders were first launching their ambitious new venture, they knew they needed a strong pre-construction partner who could help them vet the feasibility of possible sites and ultimately develop a comprehensive and realistic construction scope and budget. Wagman Construction quickly emerged as the right partner, and they have relied on the Wagman family and their team ever since. Today, Wagman Construction is serving as construction manager for the renovation of the historic York Armory building – Keystone Kidspace’s future home.

WAGMAN: FOUR GENERATIONS OF BUILDING

For four generations, the Wagman family has owned and operated a construction business based in York County since 1902. Senior Vice President Lisa Wagman Glezer stated, “Less than 3% of family businesses succeed to the fourth generation. We credit much of our success to our commitment to our core values of community, integrity, safety, sense of urgency and mutual respect.” These core values have been the foundation of the company’s work with Keystone Kidspace.

PARTNERING WITH KEYSTONE KIDSPACE

When the Wagman family learned about the plans to bring Keystone Kidspace to downtown York they were excited and eager to help. Joe Wagman, Chairman of Wagman Construction, stated, “We love urban renovation projects, especially in our hometown and especially working with an iconic historic building like the National Guard Armory. When I first heard of the Kidspace concept it immediately connected with me, especially given my memories of what was available when our kids were young, so I reached out to Jessica and told her that being a family business we would be ‘all in’ any way we could help.” As a parent of four children, Lisa was also thrilled to help add something to downtown York.

BRINGING NEW LIFE TO THE YORK ARMORY

In partnering to renovate the historic York Armory, the Wagman family is helping to adapt the facility to meet today’s standards while also preserving its architectural history. “Old buildings want to present you with their surprises, usually at the most inappropriate times. Our challenge is to identify those challenges as best as possible as early as possible to mitigate them. Another challenge is to upgrade the building to today’s codes and the programmatic desires of Kidspace without losing its historic architectural character. It’s our pleasure to work with the design team to accomplish that goal,” Joe stated. Lisa added, “I think many of us have learned more about the Armory since it’s come under the ownership of Keystone Kidspace than ever before and I love the way that the history is part of the Keystone Kidspace story.”

FILLING A VOID

Keystone Kidspace will bring a new experiential learning center unlike any other in the area to the community of York and its visitors. According to Lisa, “Keystone Kidspace fills a void, offering a space for children to create and explore. It will be very complementary to other programs in the area. Children need exposure to discover their interests and have an opportunity to try new things. Having a safe space to play, get messy and create will be a wonderful addition to our community.” Joe agreed, “I love the Kidspace motto of ‘stuff you can’t do at home.’…I am very envious of the parents who will have this terrific venue to take their kids to.” Indeed, Joe is so invested in the vision for Keystone Kidspace that he signed on as co-chair of its Play With Purpose Capital Campaign.

The Wagmans look forward to having a place in their community with new and dynamic program offerings. Joe noted “how different and exciting this location will be in terms of an educational, social and fun experience for our youth. There’s no substitute for hands-on, experiential learning. You don’t truly learn how to take a bike apart and put it back together from a book or YouTube video like you do when you’re all dirty trying to get that wheel or chain back on…That kind of learning sticks and gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment, and possibly teamwork too.”

Lisa is also excited about the opportunities for adults to get involved. “Keystone Kidspace is going to offer dynamic and flexible programming so you are going to want to go back. It won’t be just for kids – the space will be open for evening events and they have considered a mixology class (Who doesn’t want to create a martini?),” she stated.

A STRONG TEAM

Working with Co-Founders of Keystone Kidspace, Jess and Jenn, has been a highlight of this project for the Wagmans. Lisa stated, “If you know Jess and Jenn, you know they are fun. They are smart, savvy, creative and doing amazing things. As a mom of three girls (and a boy), I celebrate this project as an example that women can do anything. This project is also being led by a female Senior Superintendent at Wagman. It was a great example for the next generation when she was giving tours during our annual Take Your Child to Work Day this year.”

Joe stated, “I love the high energy level and unwillingness to be thwarted attitude of Jessica and Jenn. You can’t help but get caught up in their enthusiasm and the opportunity to improve our community.”

THE FUTURE

The Wagmans look forward to seeing this project through to completion when Keystone Kidspace will open its doors in 2020. Joe stated, “Kidspace will not just fill a void in our community offerings for our youth, but in doing so it will deliver a state of the art experiential learning center that we will all be proud of, while at the same time reinvigorating a great old building and further embellishing the north entrance to our City. This is a project that all of York County can be proud of, and support.” Lisa agreed, “Keystone Kidspace will bring new life to the York Armory and increase the appeal of downtown York as a family destination.”