New ideas floated for $113M Mt. Lebanon high school renovation project
A Mt. Lebanon School District subcommittee wants architects and designers guiding the $113 million renovation of the high school to consider its ideas.
School board members on Monday heard from the Community Advisory Committee, an 11-member group formed last month to help architects, the construction manager and others associated with the project assimilate community input during the design phase.
Among the group’s 83 recommendations are changing the location of a loading dock, creating a central entrance facing Cochran Road and getting better use out of Building C, a 37-year-old edifice that houses classrooms, the cafeteria and library.
“This isn’t a list of complaints. We’re not looking to unravel anything,” committee member Ronald Leibow said. “In the end, we want this to be something that will be a benefit to Mt. Lebanon.”
Leibow, a father of four and a Mt. Lebanon resident for 10 years, said the changes could be made without exceeding the budget.
Thomas C. Celli, president of Celli-Flynn Brennan Inc., the Downtown architecture firm heading the project, said he needed time to consider all the recommendations before saying how or if they could be met.
Board President Edward Kubit said the matter likely would be discussed again Monday.
Celli told board members he and OWP/P, a Chicago-based design architectural firm, were confident the project would meet budget expectations, even saying expenses could go down slightly because officials anticipate removing low levels of asbestos and do not anticipate soil-contamination problems.
School officials for several years have talked about renovating the school, but the idea took on urgency when the aging building became more costly to maintain.
The oldest section of the high school, located on Cochran Road between Lebanon and Miami avenues, was built in 1928. Over the years, the school has undergone additions and renovations, the last of which took place more than 30 years ago.
In October, $69 million bonds were sold for the project at an interest rate of 3.6 percent.
Officials have said construction might begin in November. Construction will occur in phases over three to four years, so as not to force students into temporary classrooms.