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McCandless Council approves addition for Vincentian Academy

Tony LaRussa
| Friday, July 1, 2016, 5:27 p.m.
This is an artist's rendering of what the addition to Vincentian Academy will look like.
Submitted
This is an artist's rendering of what the addition to Vincentian Academy will look like.

When the president of Vincentian Academy took the position at the Catholic high school in the summer of 2011, one of his priorities was to get rid of a pair of temporary trailers that were being used for classrooms.

“The trailers we were using were installed in 1998 and are only supposed to have a useful life of about 10 years,” said John Fedko, president of the Catholic high school located off McKnight Road in McCandless. “The trailers were an eyesore, so I thought it was time for them to go and start thinking about expanding our building.”

An interim solution was to use parts of the nearby Sisters of Charity of Nazareth convent for classrooms starting in 2014 as the school embarked on a fundraising campaign.

McCandless Council on June 27 approved land development plans for a two-story, 4,900-square-foot addition to the Vincentian Academy building that will be constructed on the land where the trailers once stood.

In addition to three classrooms for general instruction, the estimated $2.5-million construction project will add separate rooms for art and music. Plans also call for a media production studio, an elevator, rest rooms and a patio area.

“The project still needs to be approved by the sisters, who oversee the school,” Fedko said. “But once we begin work, it shouldn't take very long at all for the addition to be completed.”

While the expansion will create more space for the school's growing enrollment, which went from 219 to 270 during the past five years, the goal is to keep the student body small.

“I don't think we ever want to go over about 300 kids,” Fedko said. “Part of Vincentian's charm is its small size.”

The school has an average class size of 19 and a student to teacher ratio of 12-to-1.

The addition is part of a long-range capital improvement plan that includes remodeling the current building, which was constructed in the 1960s; adding about five more classrooms; building an 800-seat field house and an auditorium; and adding artificial turf to the soccer field.

The estimated cost of the additions and renovations is $16 million and $19 million, Fedko said.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6368 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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