MT. LEBANON, Pa. - When students return to Mt. Lebanon High School next week, they will see a lot of changes thanks to an expensive, controversial renovation project. Channel 11's Trisha Pittman got a tour of the impressive improvements.
Despite a price tag that exceeds $100 million, school administrators insisted that the benefits outweigh the cost.
"It's really about building a facility that is going to meet the needs and help support the needs of our program," Principal Brian McFeeley said.
New science labs and a new high-tech math classroom are just a few of the facility's many highlights.
"With our science wing, our world languages department, our math department, what we tried to do was to build a building that was meeting, that was going to help support, what we believe to be best practices," McFeeley said.
For the past year and a half, crews have been renovating a structure originally built in the 1930s. A new addition and a large field house were connected by a walking bridge. The transformation includes more green space, high-tech infrastructure, open-air design and energy efficiency.
It's the $109.6 million price tag, however, that makes it controversial.
Moon Area School District paid $48.5 million for its high school/middle school conversion. Montour High School, meanwhile, was renovated for $50 million. The cost to Mt. Lebanon taxpayers was more than the combined cost of the Moon and Montour renovations.
McFeeley said you can't put a price tag on a quality education.
"Now we have a building with 21st century technology that's out there, that's going to be adaptable, we think, for future innovations that come down the line that we haven't planned for yet," McFeeley said.
When complete in the spring of 2015, Mt. Lebanon High School will have reduced its size by 100 square feet, but will have added the look and feel of a college campus.