Construction underway for major expansion at Central High School

Mike DeNardo
June 04, 2019 - 3:06 pm
Construction is underway on the first phase of a major expansion at Central High School.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Construction is underway on the first phase of a major expansion at Central High School. 

They gathered with shovels for a dirt-tossing photo op at Central High School, but in reality, the construction behind them had been going on for three weeks. 

It's the start of 14 months of badly-needed infrastructure work on the 80-year-old building, says school president Tim McKenna.

"Phase one, we're creating a real, true loading dock that the school doesn't have. We're renovating the parking lot to make it more accessible for parents to get in and out and drop-offs. We're adding tennis courts to the back of the building," McKenna said. 

Construction is underway on the first phase of a major expansion at Central High School.
Courtesy of Central High School alumni association

The $42 million expansion was jump-started with a $10 million donation from Central alum Joseph Field, who founded Entercom, the company that owns KYW Newsradio.  

After the infrastructure work is finished 14 months from now, Field says, work will begin on a 400-seat state-of-the-art performance space.

"When we build the performing arts center - which is a world-class facility - we will then have the right to claim that Central High School is the best public high school in America," he said. 

District Superintendent William Hite says it's vital to have the support of alumni.

"It's always nice when you have an alumni association like the alumni association here at Central, who have made the types of contributions and commitments to this school that this alumni association has," Hite said. 

The school district is kicking-in $8 million for the project.