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Camera to provide live video of Thomas Jefferson High School construction

| Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 8:03 p.m.

Residents in the West Jefferson Hills School District will have a bird's-eye view of nearly every phase of the construction of the new Thomas Jefferson High School.

A construction camera, likely attached high up on a tree or pole above the site, will begin live-streaming a site-wide view of the building of the new, nearly $100 million high school by the end of April.

Board members approved the purchase of the camera for $7,831 last month. A monthly fee of $325 will be paid for the camera's Internet connectivity through the remainder of the project.

“It's exciting for the community to be able to, at any time, view this with their own eyes and see exactly what's going on at the site,” public relations coordinator Carrie Lekse said.

As the district embarked on the construction of the new high shool on a 161-acre site off of Old Clairton Road, officials have tried to keep the public informed of nearly every phase of the project, director of facilities Ryan Snodgrass said.

The district hired a design company in 2014 to launch a website solely dedicated to updates on the project — newTJHS.com.

On the website, there are updates on public meetings, a walk-through of the project and monthly photo updates of the site since October.

Lekse uploads information regarding the project onto the district's social media accounts at least once a month. She said those are some of the most popular links she posts.

Driving by the site, she often finds people stopping in front of the property to look at the construction.

“Literally, people will slow down or stop and stare because they're so entranced with what's going on,” Lekse said.

A construction camera is often used in large projects, Snodgrass said. He noted the World Trade Center and Consol Energy Center construction projects had such cameras.

“Even some local high schools have utilized this,” Snodgrass said. “It's in a fixed location that will be high up above the site. ... Luckily, with the lay of the land, we have some pretty high perches.”

Live-stream cameras have become popular, as people flock to their computers to watch the lives of eagles in a nest in Hays. This is a take on that.

“I don't think it's quite as enthralling as the eagles, but for some people it might be,” Snodgrass said.

The camera will show most of the site and be featured on the newTJHS.com website.

Snodgrass said he thinks its most popular feature will be a timelapse video that, at the end of the project, will show it all come together within a few minutes.

Once the project is complete, the camera will be repurposed, Snodgrass said.

Once the exterior of the building is complete, Snodgrass said, the camera could possibly be moved inside the school to show a different view of the construction.

“We're really trying to keep people involved as much as we can,” Snodgrass said.

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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