CCAC advances Donora school project

Scott Beveridge
Observer Reporter

Community College of Allegheny County will advance plans to open a new workforce training center at the former Donora elementary school site.

The college’s board of directors Thursday adopted a resolution defining the Donora project as a “reasonable prospect” that would result in educating students in such trades as construction and welding to allow small and emerging businesses to grow, CCAC records show.

The resolution also authorizes college President Quintin Bullock to conduct necessary research and seek a federal grant to support a campus center at the former Ringgold School District property at 401 Waddell Ave. The plan also calls for offering programs in Donora in health care, cybersecurity, surveying and computer-aided design and drafting.

Bullock and several other CCAC officials toured the building now owned by Donora Borough in June as the college looked for ways to expand its footprint in Washington County, where it has about 400 students enrolled in classes at Washington Crown Center mall in North Franklin Township.

The North Franklin site is 30 miles from Donora, “which makes it fairly inaccessible to residents in eastern Washington County and the mid-Mon Valley area,” the resolution states.

Bullock said Friday the college will perform two feasibility studies on the project. One will involve determining whether or not there is “firm interest in the programs,” and the other one will examine the building to see if it can accommodate the school. It might be more feasible, Bullock said, to demolish the building and construct a new facility there. The studies are expected to be completed by the end of the summer, he said.

“The borough is in partnership with us,” he said, adding an application for funding for the project will be submitted to the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Rural Development program.

Ringgold closed Donora Elementary Center in 2001, relocating students to a renovated building in nearby Carroll Township.