Richard Alloway and John Boozer remember the Scotland School for Veterans Children of their childhoods as a busy campus for children in grades three to 12.
Today, the 183 acres and their 70 buildings are vacant, minimally maintained by a skeleton staff. The state closed the school after the class of 2009’s graduation.
Not wanting to see the facilities remain unused, former neighbors Alloway and Boozer began talking about their vision for the 115-year-old campus. They agreed they want to maintain the purpose of serving the nation’s veterans and their families.
“It’s not readily adaptable for commercial and industrial use,” said Boozer, owner of the Franklin Advisory consulting firm volunteering on the project.
The ideas developed by Boozer and Alloway, the Republican state senator for Franklin, Adams and York counties, led to the formation of the Scotland Landing Foundation. The nonprofit foundation now has six board members.
Proponents of redevelopment are envisioning a veterans home, library and resource center, schools for children and adults, financial counseling services, and job training and employment opportunities for veterans.
The first projects could be in place by September, Boozer said.
“We want to put the facilities back into use as soon as possible,” Alloway said, saying the campus probably will be subdivided for private or nonprofit ownership.
On Dec. 9, U.S. Army Col. David Sutherland, special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke in Chambersburg, Pa., about a “sea of good will” needed to transition military veterans into civilian society.
“We’ve had some good support at high levels,” Boozer said.
A Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs study found a need for a 240-bed veterans’ home in south-central Pennsylvania, Boozer and Alloway said.
“We could very well see something like that happening out there,” Alloway said.
Scotland Landing would offer mid-level medical services, but not a VA hospital, Boozer said.
Boozer’s father, David, worked at Scotland School for Veterans Children and is the namesake of Boozer Hall. The family lived on campus, and John Boozer said he always appreciated the core mission of the school, which opened to serve children of Civil War veterans.
The mission expanded to all military families over the years. Alloway and Boozer said that is in the forefront of their minds as the campus is redeveloped.
“It’s not just returning veterans. It’s for veterans of all ages,” Boozer said.