Workers get ready Friday to place the last piece of the steel skeleton for the new Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School in Cranberry Township. Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh took part in a ceremony marking the milestone.
CRANBERRY TWP — The steel skeleton of the new Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School is almost done, and diocese officials on Friday presided over a ceremony when a special beam was erected on the building. Termed a “topping out” ceremony, Bishop David Zubik and other officials signed their names on the white beam before it was lifted by crane onto the structure. More than 100 construction workers traipsed under blue skies and brisk temperatures Friday morning as they operated cranes, dump trucks and backhoes across the 71-acre site. The activity stopped when the bishop arrived and began greeting workers and others. A last-minute addition to the ceremony, Zubik said he couldn’t miss such a special event for the first Catholic high school being built by the Diocese of Pittsburgh since 1967. “This is a historical moment I didn’t want to be left out of,” he said. Zubik offered brief remarks before praying over the site and asking for God’s blessing for the school. It won’t be long, the bishop said, until more than 1,000 students pack the site to receive an “innovative” education for decades to come. The placing of the beam is a “significant event” for this “phenomenal structure,” he said, and represents just how far the diocese has come since announcing the project several years ago. “This is a dream come true,” Zubik said about the school. “Many people said it couldn’t and wouldn’t happen.” After speaking, Zubik bent down on one knee and signed his name on the beam. Dozens of workers and diocese officials followed until the beam contained about a hundred signatures. The large, white beam had an American flag as well as a tree, which diocese spokesman Michael Arnold described as a tradition for topping out ceremonies. There also was a broom wired to the structure, which represents a “clean sweep” for the construction workers, meaning none of them were injured during construction. Zubik said the Cranberry Township area is the perfect location for the new school, adding that local schools like St. Kilian and St. Alphonsus have waiting lists for prospective students. “The population growth here is incredible,” he said. The $71 million project is expected to be finished in January 2014, while the school is set to open in August of that year. More than $58.5 million for the project is being borrowed, Arnold said.