The Woodland Hills school board tonight scrapped a plan to sell the district's administrative building in Churchill and lease new office space in Braddock.
Woodland Hills has considered various plans for its aging, dilapidated administrative offices since 2005, but none materialized.
Tonight, history repeated itself.
The board, developers and residents had discussed the plan at several meetings before the school board and Churchill and Braddock councils since the fall.
The board approved the sale and the move to Braddock in January after postponing the vote several times because of community opposition to the plans.
The board was set to finalize a sales agreement tonight with Trek Development for the sale of the property at 2430 Greensburg Pike. The board, however, voted 5-4 to reject the plan.
Board members Fred Kuhn, Tara Reis, Bob Tomasic, Regis Driscoll and Brian Estocin voted against the plan. Colleen Filiak, Jeff Hanchett, Marilyn Messina and Robert Clanagan voted for it.
The 25,000-square-foot building was to be sold to Trek for $625,000. Trek planned to demolish the building and erect at least 48 units of housing for seniors. The admin offices would have moved to a 9,000-square-foot leased space in a redevelopment on the site of the former UPMC Braddock hospital.
More than 20 people spoke in favor of the plan tonight, including real estate agents, a pastor, a nun, elected officials from Braddock and residents of a Trek senior housing development in Penn Hills. Fewer than five stood before the board to reiterate their displeasure with the plan.
In past meetings, Churchill residents expressed concerns that a portion of the senior housing be income-qualified and lamented the lack of an independent financial analysis.
Mr. Tomasic noted that 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, more than Trek's offer.
Woodland Hills business manager Joyce Sullivan said she believes the sale of the building to Trek and the move to Braddock would be fiscally prudent for the district.
Supporters of the sale and the move to Braddock noted that both properties would have been on the tax rolls. Woodland Hills also would have had a presence in Braddock for the first time since the 1981 court-ordered merger that created the district.
Before the vote, Braddock resident Adam Schaible asked the board to finalize the deal.
"I'm not a big fan of the past. I'm focused on the future," he said. "Come on down to Braddock. We'll bake you a pie."
Annie Siebert: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1613. Twitter: @AnnieSiebert.