On February 6th, the town of Mt. Lebanon will celebrate 100 years with champagne, cake, and a toast to the future from some of the municipality's founding families. And indeed, there is much to look forward to in the near future, as Mt. Lebanon High School has embarked on a massive redevelopment project, and construction is underway on the town’s first hotel.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held last Thursday at Mt. Lebanon High School, following a 6-year planning process which had been marked by controversy, including questions about its cost. The school board gave final approval to the project last winter.
The $109 million project will be built in phases, and is part renovation, and part new construction.
At last week’s groundbreaking, School Board President Josephine Posti said Mt. Lebanon was built around a vision for excellence in education, which has developed the character of residents and has shaped the town’s legacy.
“This new school is a gift to the children of our community and will be used by generations of students who most of us will never know," Posti said. "But our community's leaders did the same for many of us and for our children.”
Additions include a new academic wing, with state-of-the-art science labs and classrooms; an athletic wing, including a new pool and three gymnasiums; and a renovated Center Court, which will serve as a meeting place for students at the heart of the school.
The original Mt. Lebanon High School, built in 1931, will be completely renovated, but will remain at the campus’ entrance facing Cochran Road.
On the site of a former surface parking lot off Washington Road, work has begun on Mt. Lebanon’s first hotel, a Marriott Spring Hill Suites. Mt. Lebanon Municipal Planner Keith McGill says it will be an upscale, 7-story, boutique hotel, with an expected completion date of March 2013.
McGill says the developers, Kratsa Properties, intend for hotel guests to capitalize on Washington Road’s existing businesses for dining and entertainment. And as the site is near the T light rail service, guests will have easy access to Downtown Pittsburgh.
And in Uptown Mt. Lebanon, Walnut Grove
will take-over the former Molly Brannigan’s Pub. According to owner Kirk Vogel, both interior and exterior spaces will be completely remodeled to better fit design aesthetics of the community.
Walnut Grove has two other locations, in Wexford and Fox Chapel, and Walnut Grille in Shadyside. Vogel says the new menu will be identical to the other two Grove restaurants. But he describes the Mt. Lebanon concept as "urban meets suburban."
The Centennial Celebration will begin at 8 p.m. on Monday, February 6th, at the Mt. Lebanon Municipal Building, 710 Washington Road.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Cissy Bowman, Mt. Lebanon School District; Keith McGill, Mt. Lebanon Municipal Planner