Woodland Hills postpones vote on selling building

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The Woodland Hills school board last week postponed a vote to finalize the sale of its Churchill administration building, citing residents' concerns over a plan to build housing for seniors at the site and move the district's administration offices to a leased space in Braddock.

The board voted Jan. 28 to OK the sale of the building and to lease the space in Braddock. It has to vote on the final option and lease agreements by March 14.

A handful of Churchill residents attended last week's meeting to reiterate their concerns over the sale of the property. Most called for the board to hire an independent financial analyst to examine the deal between the district and Trek Development, which plans to redevelop the Churchill site and is also the developer of the Braddock Overlook Project on the site of the former UPMC Braddock hospital.

To add another wrinkle to the sale, the Pace School, a private school that serves special needs students and shares a driveway with the administrative building, sent a letter to the school board offering $700,000 for the building. The deal with Trek calls for the building to be sold for $625,000.

Dolores Patterson, who lives on Greensburg Pike near the administration building, said the location is not suitable for the planned 48 units of senior housing because few businesses are nearby and the site lacks access to public transportation.

"This is not an appropriate location for seniors," she said.

Trek president William Gatti Jr. said it would be "a relief" to have an independent financial analysis done to allay some residents' concerns about the sale, the planned redevelopment and the move to Braddock.

"If the board thinks that's an important thing, I'm accepting of that approach," he said.

The board and some of those at the three-hour meeting heatedly discussed what type of person would be qualified to do the independent financial analysis. The board voted to OK the analysis but did not settle on who would complete the task. The analysis will be discussed and residents will have an opportunity to ask questions at the board's agenda setting meeting at 7:30 p.m. March 6 in the administrative offices.

The board will hold a public meeting on a possible closure or reconfiguration of Fairless Elementary School at 7 p.m. March 5 at the school.

education - neigh_east

Annie Siebert: asiebert@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1613. Twitter: @AnnieSiebert.


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