Capital Improvement Project: Kelly & Turner

At the January 2015 legislative meeting, the Wilkinsburg School Board approved JC Pierce, Architects to begin conceptual design work for renovating Kelly and Turner Elementary Schools. 

Kelly Elementary School was constructed in 1969, and Turner Elementary School was constructed in 1936; both buildings were renovated in the 1990’s.  The MS/HS was constructed in 1910, and an addition was added in 1936. The Board of Education borrowed 8.2 million dollars in 2011 for the purpose of capital improvements in the district.  A feasibility study was completed that included a needs assessment and costs associated with several options for capital improvements.  Preliminary design work for the two elementary schools and the MS/HS buildings was initiated; however, planning came to a stop due to a transition of leadership in the District.

In July 2014, the District was notified that unspent capital funds would need to be returned with penalties if the funding was not committed to a capital project by June 2015. Since 2011, the 8.2 million capital fund has dipped to 6.5 million dollars due to the upkeep of aging facilities. The Board decided to utilize the funds in hand rather than return them with penalty.

The Board reviewed three options for spending the funds:

  1. Option A: Renovate the two elementary schools as PK-6 buildings with minimal upgrades to the MS/HS building. The elementary schools would be state-of-the-art buildings technologically and security-wise. Turner would get new windows, additional classrooms, HVAC, and overall face-lift with appearance.  Kelly would get overall facelift. Both elementary schools would be ADA compliant. The MS/HS would get minimal facelift.
    Estimated Total Cost: $10 million
  2. Option B: Renovate the two elementary schools as PK-8 buildings with minimal upgrade to the MS/HS building. The same upgrades as listed in Option A except the elementary buildings would expand to include grades 7 and 8.
    Estimated Total Cost: $18 Million
  3. Option C: Renovate all three buildings in the current grade configuration. The MS/HS would receive the same upgrades as described in Option A.
    Estimated Total Cost: $30+ Million

As one would expect, the costs associated with the three options escalates with each one. Option A would require the District to borrow an additional $4 million; Option B, an additional $12 million; and Option C, an additional $24+ million. 

The impact on the District’s current annual debt service payment for each option would be as follows: Option A: Less than $50,000 per year; Option B: approximately $450,000 per year; and Option C: TBD, but obviously significantly higher than the other two options. 

Due to the limited borrowing capacity that exists with the WSD, the Board selected Option A as its capital project investment. For a very minimal impact on our yearly budget, the district would realize a valuable return on its investment into the future of the WSD; there will be NO TAX INCREASE.

The capital expenditure commitment to the MS/HS facility will be discretionary as the District explores its options on the future of the building. Dwindling enrollments at the secondary level has warranted an investigation into alternative means for meeting the educational needs of our students in grades 7-12.

The renovation timeline, renderings, and power points are posted on this site for public view.  Neighborhood meetings to share and receive comment from the community are scheduled for Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at Turner Elementary and Wednesday, May 6 at Kelly Elementary. Meetings will begin at 6:00pm.

Please stay tuned for monthly updates.

Dr. Daniel J. Matsook


  1. Eliminate Modular Classrooms
  2. Build Six New Classrooms
  3. ADA/Code: New Elevator and Stair Lifts
  4. Upgrade Building Systems
    -HVAC/Plumbing, including A/C
    -Electrical Service/Power/Lighting
    -Fire Protection/Sprinklers
    -Safety and Security
  5. Upgrade Building Envelope
    -Exterior Doors and Windows
    -Masonry Mortar Joint Pointing as Required
    -Window Lintel Replacement as Required
    -Metal Wall Panels
    -Add Windows
  6. Upgrade Interior Finishes
    -Painting, Ceilings, Flooring, Toilet Rooms


  1. Eliminate Modular Classrooms
  2. Build Small Addition to Enlarge Administration Area and Provide Secure Entrance Vestibule
  3. ADA/Code Improvements
  4. Upgrade Building Systems
    -Lighting and Technology
    -Fire Protection (Sprinklers)
    -Safety and Security
    -Technology and Communications
  5. Upgrade Building Envelope
    -Exterior Doors and Windows
    -Masonry Mortar Joint Pointing
    -Concrete Restoration and Cleaning
  6. Upgrade Interior Finishes
    -Painting, Ceilings, Flooring, Toilet Rooms


Please note: Below is the current construction timeline. [A previous version, no longer valid, appears in the Project Proposal PDF in the sidebar of this page.]

[ViaviWordPressTimeline timelineid=”1″]


Construction & Renovation
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