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Pitt-Bradford acquires new property

BRADFORD — The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has purchased the former St. Bernard Elementary School property from developer Goldenwest Group LLC. and is developing both short- and long-term plans for the parcel.

The university acquired the former Saint Bernard’s school property to accommodate future expansion and development of athletic and recreation facilities.

Pitt-Bradford is currently home to 14 NCAA Division III sports as well as club cheerleading, esports and hockey teams.

Part or all of the existing St. Bernard school building will be demolished sometime next year in preparation for future development of campus facilities.

“We’re very excited to be adding this new property to our campus,” said Dr. Catherine Koverola, Pitt-Bradford’s president.

“We know how important athletics and recreational programs are for our students to help them develop into active, healthy individuals. We look forward to developing these new opportunities for our students and providing new ways for community participation.”

In the short term, the property may be used for the development of a campus garden in support of the biological sciences program, the broader campus sustainability initiatives, and community food insecurity.

“A community garden will not only enhance our students’ academic opportunities but potentially could benefit some of our neighbors in Bradford,” Koverola said.

The opportunity to purchase the property arose when Goldenwest, which had planned to develop the 6-acre property as an events center and business incubator, decided to sell the parcel instead.

The property is located along West Washington Street across from the campus’s main entrance on Dorothy Lane.

This is not the first time the university had considered purchasing the former school. During 2018, the university considered buying the property from St. Bernard Parish in order to use the former school building for STEM-related academic programs.

The university hired Pittsburgh architectural MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni to conduct a feasibility study examine two possible options: purchasing and renovating St. Bernard School or building a new building on campus.

University officials decided not to purchase the property after discovering that renovating the building would cost $11.9 million more than constructing a new building on campus.

The engineering technology building is in the design phase and tentatively scheduled to begin construction in summer 2021.

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