Woodland Hills Academy students, staff to move into Swissvale school
The Woodland Hills School District's $15 million renovation of its historic academy building in Turtle Creek will take place during the coming school year without any students or staff present.
Woodland Hills Academy students and staff will relocate to the former Word of God School in Swissvale — which Woodland Hills is leasing for a year from the Diocese of Pittsburgh for $120,000 — while the renovation is completed.
“The (academy building) is pretty old, and I think it needs to be renovated. … I wouldn't want a child at the school while they're doing renovations,” said North Braddock resident Kia Dunn, whose daughter, 10, is a fifth-grader in Woodland Hills Academy. Her two sons, now 16 and 17, attended the academy.
The 95-year-old academy building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has not undergone a major renovation since the 1930s, said Daniel Stephens, an administrator overseeing the project. The building on Monroeville Avenue once was Turtle Creek High School.
The extensive renovation will include updating fixtures in each room; asbestos abatement; furniture replacement; plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades or replacements; filling in the pool; and adding an elevator to make the school compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, school officials said.
The work is expected to start on Aug. 11 and be finished by Aug. 15, 2015, Stephens said.
The district opened bids from general contractors on Tuesday, and the school board will make a selection on Monday, he said.
The academy, which has 51 teachers, enrolls kindergarten through eighth-grade students from the 12 municipalities that make up the Woodland Hills School District. About 480 students were enrolled at the academy in the 2013-14 school year.
The renovation will be paid for with part of the money left from a $50 million bond issue from 2005, school board member Regis Driscoll said.
Board President Robert Tomasic said he thinks money spent on renovating the academy is being wasted, and the school district should find a way to keep students at the leased school in Swissvale.
More than a decade ago, an architect told the district that it would cost $30 million to renovate the building to state specifications, and it would be better to demolish and replace it with a new school, he said.
Driscoll said a complete renovation is not being done, which is why the price is lower.
Driscoll noted that the district approved the academy renovation in 2013 and if the project were canceled, the district could lose millions of dollars in penalties to contractors who have started working.
With eight schools, Woodland Hills officials generally agree that the district has excess building capacity that needs to be addressed. However, Driscoll said, it doesn't make sense to close the academy, which is one of its larger buildings.
“You don't close your bigger schools. You close your smaller schools,” he said.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- North Allegheny to host event to celebrate diversity
- W. Pa. neighborhood watch groups work with police to keep streets safe
- Bethel Park OKs test boring at high school
- Where and when to find holiday festivities throughout Western Pa.
- Mt. Lebanon student to travel to Germany
- Plum to seek bids for new elementary school