“Topping Out” Ceremony Set for New North Catholic High School in Cranberry

A ceremonial steel beam will be added to the structure. Plus, get the latest on the building’s construction from the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s chief facilities officer, Michael J. Arnold.

One of the last steel components for the new Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry almost is in place.

On Friday, the Diocese of Pittsburgh will hold a “topping out” ceremony at the site along Route 228 as a ceremonial steel beam is hoisted onto the structure.

Then it’s back to work.

Michael J. Arnold, chief facilities officer for the Diocese, said the project is now entering its seventh month of construction.

“For the most part, we’re tracking on schedule,” he said.

Expected to open in time for the 2014-15 school year, the is located on 71 acres near Cranberry’s border with Seven Fields. Once finished it will be able to accommodate up to 1,000 students.

Two years ago, the diocese announced it would close the school’s current building in Pittsburgh's Troy Hill neighborhood, where it has been located for more than 70 years, and move its programs to Cranberry in response to population growth and shifts in the North Hills.

The high school building project is the largest the Diocese of Pittsburgh has undertaken in recent history.

Arnold said once the steel structure is in place, workers would add a roof to the building as well as continue to pour the concrete floors. Fireproofing and drywall also will be added to the building.

“A lot of changes will start to happen,” he said. “Up to this point, it has been a tremendous amount of excavation and earthwork.”

That includes constructing a new road leading from Route 228 to the high school.

For now, a temporary access road is being used as an entry for construction workers only, but Arnold said stone pavers will be added to the road to stabilize it over the winter. Following that, the road will be paved.

The school also will construct a 2,000 foot-long connector road, dubbed Hillmont Drive, at the intersection of Mars and Franklin Road. The existing intersection of Franklin and Old Mars Crider Roads then will be converted to a right in/ right out design, according to Cranberry officials.

Cut through a swath of wooded land, Hillmont Drive also is expected to help keep school traffic off a residential portion of Mars Crider Road.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done with storm sewers and drainage, but that’s moving along as well,” Arnold said.

Arnold said construction on the high school is expected to be complete by January 2014. The school's furniture, security systems, and other specialty items will be added to the building between January and August—before the start of the fall semester, Arnold said.

“The nice thing about that is we’ll be able to take a few months to iron out any issues we may have,” he said.

A library, auditorium, gymnasium and a two-story classroom all will be part of the new North Catholic High School, according to Arnold. Other amenities include SMART Boards (interactive whiteboards) and wireless capabilities for the classrooms.

“We are trying to have it as state-of-the-art as we can within our budget,” Arnold said.

Check back with Cranberry Patch for coverage of the "Topping Out" ceremony. In the meantime, tell us what you think about the building. Are you excited for the school’s opening in Cranberry?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Jen December 13, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Do you know if they'll have a football stadium there? Just curious!
Jessica Sinichak December 13, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Not before the school opens in 2014. I believe one may eventually be added at a later date.


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