North Allegheny breaks ground on renovation, expansion of two elementary schools
Rain on Monday washed out North Allegheny’s groundbreaking ceremonies to officially mark the start of construction on a pair of major elementary school renovation and expansion projects.
But more than $45 million in work planned for McKnight and Franklin elementary schools are a go.
The work at McKnight Elementary include major changes at the site to reconfigure the area where parents drop off and pick up children, the addition of a canopy over the main entrance, and relocation of play areas to make room for a 5,400-square-foot addition to house art classrooms. The building also is scheduled for significant remodeling.
The school board voted Feb. 27 to award five contracts totalling more than$17.1 million for the work. The largest contract — $9.96 million — went to the Nello Construction Co., which will serve as general contractor for the project.
McKnight originally was two separate buildings. The western portion of the building was constructed in 1955 and expanded in 1969. The other half of the building was the former Cumberland Hills Special Education Center, which was built in 1963 and expanded in 1968. The buildings were connected with a hallway after the the district bought the special education center in 1987. The most recent additions and renovations were done in 1999.
Work at Franklin Elementary will nearly double the size of the building from its current capacity of 525 students to about 900 pupils.
The additional capacity is needed to accommodate growth, according to school officials.
Since 2015, the district’s enrollment has increased by 341 students, according to a report issued by the district outlining the findings of a recent demographic study. The report anticipates that the district’s current enrollment of 8,496 students — the largest among suburban districts in Allegheny County — will swell to as much as 8,801 by 2026.
The school board awarded more than $27.5 million in contracts for the Franklin Elementary work during its Feb. 27 meeting.
The Franklin Elementary building was constructed in 1936 and expanded in 1966. The last renovation and expansion project was done in 1999 when 10 classrooms were added along with a full-size gym, new entrance and a larger library.
R.A. Glancy & Sons Inc., which will serve as general contractor for the project, received the largest contract, $14.76 million.
District officials have been developing plans to minimize disruptions during the project that include a ban on heavy construction while classes are in session and the use of noise and dust barriers when work is done during the school day.
Work on both buildings is expected to be completed by the start of the 2020 school year.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .