Manor College Dorm

Jenkintown, PA, Montgomery County

Project Type: Interior renovation
Services: Preconstruction estimating and 3-D rendering and design, construction project management, demolition, construction, and finishing
Year: 2020

Established in 1947, Manor College is a private two- and four-year institution for higher learning in Philadelphia’s suburb of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. The proud home of the Blue Jays, Manor focuses on personalized education and offers both transfer and career-oriented programs. Having completed two previous commercial renovation and construction projects at Manor, including the dining hall and serving area in Summer 2019, we were honored to be selected as their preferred commercial renovation and construction contractor once again – this time for the dormitory’s interior renovation. 

Project Scope

Constructed in the 1960s, the Manor College dorm was outdated. Boasting original design and finishes, the dorm did not align with the institution’s 21st-century programs and curriculum. Manor charged us with designing and renovating the dorm to elevate the college’s residence life and appeal. The essential priorities included upgrading to ADA-compliant bathrooms, updating kitchenettes, and modernizing dorm room aesthetics, complete with Blue Jay-inspired finishes and décor.

Using 3-D renderings and project estimating tools, we presented various color and design layout options with estimates, including custom wardrobe units for each of the 60 dorm rooms. We considered every detail, including lighting, paint, flooring, and millwork, coordinated design and construction plans, and worked with the township and architects. Upon securing plan and estimate approvals, our team began work on this extensive and time-sensitive commercial construction and renovation project immediately after students left for the summer so that it would be ready when classes resumed in Fall 2020.


With a commercial renovation and construction project with a hard deadline, time was of the essence, and there was no room for error. We knew we would need to pull out all the stops to ensure Manor’s Fall 2020 incoming students had finished residences with enhanced function and aesthetics that elicited a sense of pride.

In addition to a tight timeline, we also had budget constraints to consider. As with many projects of this scope, changes and modifications are bound to arise, marking the importance of building enough leeway to accommodate such unforeseen circumstances – without sacrificing quality.

We were also working with the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon arriving at the job each day, internal and external work teams were required to sign in, take their temperature, wear a mask, and follow various other health and safety precautions. We were challenged to consider the best solutions for enforcing and monitoring these protocols. Finally, with factory closings and slow-downs, COVID-19 made it more difficult to procure materials required to complete this commercial renovation and construction project, making sourcing another challenge that we faced.


To meet the hard deadline of this commercial renovation and construction project for Manor College, we dedicated ourselves to doing whatever it took to complete it on time, as promised. Our team was fully committed to crossing the finish line on time, which would prove to be one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced. Using an all-hands-on-deck mentality, we dedicated every available resource to this project, and many team members worked overtime and weekends. In those rare instances where a subcontractor was in danger of falling short of a deadline, our team was on-site to notice and swiftly respond to stay on track.

At the same time, we were determined not to let a quick timeline interfere with the superior quality we’re known to produce. Our meticulous nature deters us from accepting sub-par work on any commercial renovation and construction job. So, when the architectural drawings reflected shower benches that didn’t enhance the design aesthetic, we re-sourced custom benches that better matched the color scheme and ADA requirements while still completing the project on time.

When it came to meeting the desired budgetary constraints, we worked closely with Manor to manage change orders and requested extras, such as laundry room upgrades and water bottle-friendly water fountains on each floor. We helped manage expectations and provide both cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing options while maintaining the level of quality the college wanted to deliver for its dorm residents.

Finally, our superintendent was on-site to ensure every subcontractor complied with COVID-19 health and safety protocols. We also overcame virus-related challenges with securing materials, such as hands-free bathroom faucets, appliances for three kitchenettes, and specialized bottle water filling stations on every floor. By leveraging our quality vendor relationships, we procured the materials needed to ensure that Manor College received precisely the design and layout they approved.


Upon Manor College students’ return after the summer break, dorm residents were welcomed into a clean, modern, and refreshed living space where they are free to create, explore, and grow. Manor College staff are also thrilled with the process and transformation, especially the security team that shares space in the dorm.

The Manor College dorm project illustrates our exceptional level of dedication. With the benefit of a self-performing staff and close involvement in every facet, from the design phase through construction, we deliver more than the average commercial renovation and construction company. Our one-stop-shop convenience gives clients like Manor College the ability to count on us for preconstruction services, such as estimating and 3-D rendering, as well as construction services, including project management, demolition, construction, and finishing.

Client Feedback

“I am writing to express the thanks of Manor College’s Department of Public Safety for Souder’s work done to Manor’s Residence Hall over this past summer. Souder’s employees and sub-contractors worked very hard, and under COVID restrictions, to complete the renovations to the Hall before students returned to campus in early September. The Department of Public Safety thanks Souder for being very accommodating and for forging a great relationship with its Security Officers. I would specifically like to thank Adam, Corrine, Steve, and John for their professionalism and commitment to their work, which has received positive feedback from everyone who works or resides in the Hall.”

-Joseph M., Public Safety Manager, Manor College