Menu Contact/Location

No decision reached on Woodland Hills’ East Junior High location

By Mike Scheinberg
Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Woodland Hills school board members wrapped up their final session of the year last week without reaching a consensus on a location for a new East Junior High School.

So any vote on the school’s future will not be made until next year. Cost of the new building would be at least $17.1 million.

Board President Cynthia Lowery said she hopes a final decision can be reached at the January board meeting.

Lowery added that none of the municipalities in the school district seems to want the school.

“We are not getting encouragement from any of them,” she said. “But we have to put the school somewhere.”

Lowery, who still favors the Eastmont School site in Wilkins, said the current East Junior High site in Turtle Creek could be used for stadium parking.

“Eastmont is the best site available,” Lowery said. “East and West junior highs should be similar. The property down in Turtle Creek is too small.”

Board member Linda Cole agreed with Lowery.

“A new building in Turtle Creek would have to be three or four stories. New buildings like that are not being built these days outside of the cities,” Cole said.

“We have to do what is best for the children of the district,” Lowery said. “It is a little disheartening that nobody seems to want the junior high building in their community.”

The board is split on where to locate the school. Three possible sites have been under consideration. They include the present site, Eastmont and a site next to Woodland Hills High School in Churchill.

Board member Randy Lott said he favors keeping the school in Turtle Creek.

“The presence of the junior high there is important for the community,” Lott said. He added that he is not overly concerned about the new Mon Valley Expressway in Turtle Creek. Other board members have expressed concerns about noise and safety.

School board members planned to meet with Turtle Creek council members this week to discuss the junior high further.

Board member Robert Tomasic has indicated a preference for combining the district’s two junior highs into one big school near the high school. But Churchill police said they are against this proposal because they don’t want to patrol another large school building in the borough.

Cole said there are too many pupils for one junior high building.

“This is a huge decision,” Lott said. “We need to take our time with this.”

Approved at last week’s board meeting was a $2 million capital improvement plan for the schools. Business Manager Richard Day said the money would come from the district’s capital reserve fund and still leave about $3 million in the fund.

The list of improvements included $300,000 in upgrades to fields, tracks and scoreboards at several schools. Other projects included replacing carpet at Dickson and Rankin, repairing restrooms, installing new lockers at the high school, repairing roofs and upgrading libraries.

In other action, Lowery was re-elected board president and Marilyn Messina was re-elected vice president in the annual board reorganization meeting.

(Mike Scheinberg is a freelance writer.)

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633