Second estimate shows Schenley renovations near $60M
By Bill Vidonic
Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 3:33 p.m.
A second look at needed renovations in the former Schenley High School shows Pittsburgh Public Schools still cannot afford to fix up the building, district officials said on Friday.
One estimate showed renovations would cost more than $53 million, and another estimate came in at $59.5 million, Superintendent Linda Lane's office said.
In 2008, when the district recommended closing the building, renovations were estimated at between $50 million and $86.9 million.
“While we too love the beautiful Schenley facility and wish we could afford the renovations necessary to maintain the landmark building, we must balance the need to resolve a very concerning financial future in the context of our need to accelerate the academic achievement of all students,” Lane said.
Developer PMC/Schenley HSB Associates last month submitted the highest bid of $5.2 million to buy the building. Because some community groups opposed the sale, school board members told Lane to get two additional estimates as to how much renovations, including removal of plaster and asbestos when necessary and minimal configuration of walls, would cost.
A 2009 study said the closed school would require more than $1.1 million for asbestos removal.
In the latest round of estimates, HHSDR Architects and Engineers projected asbestos removal to cost $2.8 million. Astorino architecture and engineering firm set the cost at nearly $2.5 million.
Both Pittsburgh firms said about 20 percent of the classrooms were too small under state guidelines and cited extensive renovations for plumbing, electrical, heating and other systems.
School board member Mark A. Brentley Sr. said he had not seen the report until reporters called him on Friday, and that district staff should have discussed the reports with board members first.
“It's improper, inappropriate. It's unprofessional and borderline propaganda,” said Brentley, a laborer with Pittsburgh Public Works.
“The district needs the building and can use the building. It's a wonderful building for our students,” he said.
The district emailed and faxed copies of the reports to school board members on Thursday, district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said.
Other school board members did not return phone messages seeking comment on Friday. The board expects to vote Feb. 27 on whether to sell Schenley.
The developer, which plans luxury apartments in the building, will host a public meeting at 6 p.m. Monday in district offices in Oakland.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
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.
- Young Pakistani immigrant linked to Pennsylvania woman known as ‘Jihad Jane’ sentenced to prison
- Undersized rookie Gibbons is blur on ice for Penguins
- Wrongfully arrested man sues city of Pittsburgh, police
- NBA player plans Russia’s 1st Hooters
- Plum native Umberger inching closer to return for Blue Jackets
- Penguins’ Bylsma, Blue Jackets’ Richards know each other well
- High school roundup: West Allegheny softball earns Section 2 win over Montour
- Emboldened by Italy move, QVC to expand into France
- Pens insider: Penalty killing a concern in Stanley Cup playoffs
- 4 dead in ‘horrific’ Armstrong County crash
- Body found on train tracks in West End