| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Ground broken for WCCC-Latrobe

About Stacey Federoff

By Stacey Federoff

Published: Saturday, June 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Before some put on hard hats and tossed dirt to signify the beginning of construction, about 140 state, county and local officials gathered under a large tent Friday for the groundbreaking for a new Westmoreland County Community College education center in Latrobe.

College President Daniel Obara said he could remember teaching night classes through the college at Latrobe High School in the 1970s.

Now, the new center — it will replace the aging Laurel Education Center down the street — will continue WCCC's mission to provide affordable education while working together with the city, nearby businesses and other local institutions like St. Vincent College, he said.

“We hope our new facility will serve as a welcomed space for these relationships to flourish,” Obara said.

The $10 million building at Jefferson and Depot streets will include 30,000 square feet of classrooms, computer and science labs, study areas and offices on two floors. The college acquired 11 downtown parcels covering 1.8 acres for the new building and 92 parking spaces.

“Today, the college is a hub for educational opportunities and excellence, a leader in workforce training and an engine for economic development,” said Bud Smail, board member of the WCCC Educational Foundation.

County Commissioner Ted Kopas called the center a “two-for-one” victory in development for both future students and the city of Latrobe, providing a resource to the students that can help “revitalize a core community.” Representatives from the offices of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair; state Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland; and state Rep. Joe Petrarca, D-Washington Township, offered their congratulations.

“This addition will benefit students, staff and residents of Latrobe for years to come,” said Bob John, deputy director for the governor's southwest office.

One of five centers in Westmoreland County, WCCC-Latrobe will offer community rooms for local groups or the estimated 1,000 students who will use the center.

Plans were first developed for the new center after a master facilities study by WCCC in October 2009 recommended $3.5 million in renovations.

The former Kennametal research facility was built in the 1950s and renovated in 1988 with capacity for about 450 students.

Latrobe Mayor Barbara Griffin acknowledged WCCC board member and Latrobe Councilwoman Rosie Wolford's role in bridging the relationship between the city and the college.

“She was the spark to get us moving on this,” Griffin said.

Latrobe City Manager Alex Graziani said after the ceremony that he was glad to see so many officials praising the project.

“We're kind of on display today, and I think we've put our best foot forward,” he said.

Construction of WCCC-Latrobe is scheduled to be completed for fall 2014 classes.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Murrysville woman sues Giant Eagle over burns
  2. Graziani hired away from Latrobe as Penn Township’s manager
  3. Bridge work a priority for PennDOT in Westmoreland
  4. Hempfield church offers rides to shut-ins for Holy Thursday service
  5. Retired postal worker picks $1M winner
  6. Police see no sign Franklin Regional stabbing suspect was bullied
  7. Judge explains why suspect in East Liberty killings was freed
  8. Community turns out for Franklin Regional students’ return to class
  9. Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
  10. Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
  11. New Alexandria man charged with assaulting boy in 2009
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.