The new Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School along Route 228 in Cranberry is one stop closer to starting construction.
A public hearing for the 179,000 square-foot private school was held Thursday at the Cranberry Township board of supervisors meeting. No residents testified during the hearing.
With the hearing now closed, officials are expected to vote June 28 on whether to approve plans for the new high school.
Michael Arnold, chief facilities officer for the Pittsburgh diocese, said the board’s decision later this month would affect when construction begins on the project.
Although the school originally was intended to be open in time for the 2013-14 school year, that no longer is the case.
Instead, Arnold said he hopes work will be complete on the school, which will be located on 65 acres near Cranberry’s border with Seven Fields, prior to the start of the 2014-15 school year.
The school, which will accommodate as many as 1,000 students in grades 9-12, is the largest building project the Diocese of Pittsburgh has undertaken in recent history. In 2010, the diocese announced plans to close the school’s building in Pittsburgh's Troy Hill and move programs to Cranberry in response to population growth and shifts in the North Hills.
Efforts to raise money for new North Catholic, which has a projected cost of about $62 million, are ongoing.
There also will be extensive roadwork surrounding the project.
A new road, dubbed Hillmont Drive, will serve as a connection between Franklin Road and Mars Crider Road. The 2,000 foot-long connector road would come to a signalized intersection at Franklin Road with Mars Road.
The move reflects the township’s long-held desire to create an alignment between Mars Road with Mars Crider Road. Currently, those roads intersections with Franklin Road are about 300 to 400 feet apart. With Hillmont Drive forming a plus-shaped intersection with Mars Road at Franklin Road, the entrance to Mars Cider Road would converted to a right-turn in, right-turn out only intersection.
Hillmont Road will be used to access North Catholic High School. The construction of the road also is expected to help keep school traffic off a residential portion of Mars Crider Road. At prior meetings with the township, Seven Fields residents who live near the entrance to the school’s new site had expressed concerns over additional traffic from the school.
Those aren't the only changes in store.
Northbound traffic along Franklin Road at its intersection with Rt. 228 also will have a dedicated left turn lane, mirroring the road’s pattern on the opposite side of the highway. This should enable the traffic light there to signal protected left turns onto Route 228 for Franklin Road travelers going both directions.
There also will be a right-in, right-out only entrance to the high school on Route 228, according to Jason Kratsas, Cranberry’s director of engineering.
The timing for four signalized intesections along Route 228 at Castle Creek Drive, Castle Creek Extension, Seven Fields Boulevard and Adams Ridge Boulevard in Seven Fields also will be synched up to keep traffic flowing.
For a looking at renderings for the school designed by Astorino Architects, as well as a map of Cranberry's planned road improvements, click on the photos.