Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School Prepares to Open

May14 NC web banner-2By: Marianne Reid Anderson

Construction is almost complete on the new Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School as the school, staff and administration ready themselves to welcome its first students in the fall. The school is a 185,000-square-foot complex situated on 70 acres atop a scenic hill on the north side of Route 228 near Cranberry’s border with Seven Fields. It is located near several highways making it an ideal location for those traveling from any direction.

As part of the preparation for the school opening, the Rev. Charles Bober, the pastor of Saint Kilian parish, was named as president of the new school. Fr. Bober said, “I can’t wait to get the school up and running. It’s very exciting because it’s a major undertaking by the diocese. The diocese looking north for its latest high school provides a great opportunity to expand, a great opportunity for Catholic education.” 

When asked about his future plans for Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Fr. Bober said “The mission of Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic is directed toward the formation of Christ-centered young adults who are leaders in their communities, known by their intellectual, practical, ethical and human skills.   Providing academic excellence in the context of Gospel values is at the core of what we do.   Continuing the mission of the school is the foundation of our plans.  As with any family moving into a new home, we are all aware of so many tasks that lie ahead as we live out our mission in a new location.”

In addition to his duties at the new High School, Fr. Bober will remain as pastor of St. Kilian Parish in Cranberry.

The only area of the building still being worked on is the chapel, the focal point and centerpiece of the school. Crews are expected to finish the circular structure by the end of May. Many of the chapel’s detailed design elements link to Mary, the mother of Christ and patron of the Marianist order that founded North Catholic in the North Side’s Troy Hill neighborhood in 1939. Five alcoves within the chapel represent the five decades of the rosary and each will contain images of Mary as she has appeared throughout history. In addition, even the curve of the pews and an exterior cornice have been designed to suggest the petals and shape of a rose, the symbol of Mary.

Fr. Bober said, “I deeply appreciate the fact that the chapel is physically located at the center of the entire building.  Students will able to go almost anywhere in the building and pass the chapel.  It truly will be the center of their life at school.”

Regarding the religious education at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, “At the heart of life at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic is the Eucharist and the sacramental and devotional life of the Church.  All the Catholic high schools in the Diocese have a common religion curriculum.  At Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic we plan on initiating an exciting new program of ‘faith formation’ in the fall.  Entitled “Explore! CFF,” it will provide many opportunities for students to apply what they learn in classrooms about Catholic faith in their lives. 

The school itself is a completely modern learning facility. There are dry erase boards and interactive SmartBoards installed in every classroom.

Each student will be issued a school-owned laptop computer for state-of-the-art learning and educational reinforcement of lessons and skills. In addition to the innovative classrooms, the school houses a television studio, science labs and musical composition rooms.

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic also has the other amenities expected in a modern school. The 900-seat carpeted auditorium will offer a spacious environment for student plays or assemblies and will be used for community events and for outreach and conference events for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. According to Fr. Bober, “Part of the mission of Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic entails welcoming local Catholic parishes and their ministries.  These contacts as well as the school’s own outreach will provide many ways to interact with and serve our neighbors.”

In addition, the gymnasium holds more than 1,250 people and boasts a huge school logo emblazoned on the center of the basketball court. There is also a large, college-style cafeteria in the basement of the school that will have several food stations.

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic also has brand new athletic and training facilities, perfect for their PIAA winning football team, new lacrosse team and all their WPIAL sports.

The new Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School has also been constructed to be a “green” building or in other words, “environmentally-friendly” through substantial use of recycled and reconstituted elements, energy-saving fixtures and appliances, sustainable water-saving technology and much more. As a result, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic is seeking silver certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Although a modern facility, elements from the previous school on Troy Hill have been integrated into the building. Statues and stained-glass windows will be incorporated into the chapel, and trophies, photos and artifacts will be displayed in cases and a hall of fame and a heritage room in the library.

The school is designed for a maximum enrollment of up to 1,000 students, although officials said that enrollment won’t reach that number in the school’s inaugural year. Currently, approximately 150 students are expected to transfer from the school’s current site in Troy Hill to the new site in Cranberry. In addition, they have received more than 150 applications for enrollment from prospective incoming freshmen. That number is expected to rise as the school’s opening date gets closer to at least 350 for the inaugural year.

Students interested in enrolling in Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, should visit the Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic website with their parents at http://cwnchs.org/ to schedule a tour and learn about the many benefits and scholarships available at this innovative, yet traditional, Catholic school.