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South Side High School Apartments

South Side High School

“There was a bakery in the school, and students in cosmetology class learned how to put make-up on people and style hair.” —student quote

Formerly, South Vo-Tech High School

930 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Date and Style
Original building built in 1897
—Classical Renaissance style
Building addition built in 1932
—Classical style

The original building is in a more ornate Classical style, as reinterpreted in the Renaissance, with rounded windows and decorated gables. The addition of 1924 is still Classical, but interpreted in a more modern way with greater simplicity.
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Facts and Stories Worth Knowing
  • In 1870, this site was occupied by Atterbury & Co. Flint glassworks.
  • Friday, September 10, 1897--the day the cornerstone of South High School was laid--was declared a holiday on the South Side. Businessmen closed their shops at noon; elementary schools were dismissed early, and “boy pupils led the big parade on Carson Street. In the exercises that followed, several speeches were made, interspersed with singing of the girl pupils.”
  • Edward Stotz (1868-1949), who designed more than 900 structures in a 47-year career, was the architect of South High School. He designed a picturesque building of red terra cotta and red brick, with eight classrooms, two laboratories, two storage rooms, and a principal's office. Stotz also designed Schenley and Fifth Avenue High Schools.
  • The original building cost $72,243.96.
  • On August 29, 1898, the high school opened, with 255 students and eight teachers.
  • Students came from Mt. Lebanon, Dormont, Sheraden, Carrick, and Brentwood.
  • Swimming classes were held at the “Oliver Pool,” the Oliver Bath House on South Tenth Street.
  • More and more students enrolled, so Edward Stotz designed a new addition that opened in September 1924. There were 38 rooms and offices, a library, a swimming pool, gymnasium, and cafeteria for students in grades 7 through 12.
  • In 1934, South High School won the State Basketball championship, a feat they repeated in 1937.
  • In 1936, the new building was enlarged by the addition of seven classrooms.
  • In 1940, the Vocational Building, a modern plant with the latest equipment, opened for boys. Boys attending South Vocational High School were trained in Machine Shop, Electric Power and Wiring, Cabinet Shop, Aircraft Engines, and Sheet Metal. Later, the Sheet Metal shop closed and Baking and Shoe Repair Shops were added.
  • During World War II, the Vocation School operated all day and all night, training men and women defense workers in the machine, welding, and aircraft trades.
  • In 1950, South Vocational High School offered courses to girls in Computing and Duplicating, Cosmetology, and Clothing, thus making South Vocational High School the first and only co-ed vocational high school in the city.
  • In August 1951, the stadium was completed. In 1977, the field was covered with Astroturf.


  • In 1953, South High School offered training to Cerebral Palsy students, and in 1958, a day English class was offered for adult immigrants.
  • In 1978, South again became a four-year senior high school and the junior high students were transferred to middle schools.
  • In 1981, the Board of Education announced plans to close South High School, but public outcry and a community parade caused the Board to change its plan. South remained open as a vocational technical high school with a pilot magnet program.
  • Beginning in September 1985, the school operated as a magnet school and was used for vocational and technical training for students from all over the city. It was renamed South Vocational-Technical School, or “South Vo-Tech.”
  • In the early 1990s, South High Stadium was designated a neutral field and became the facility for all the Pittsburgh Public Schools' football teams. In 1999, it was renamed George K. Cupples Stadium, in honor of a former Director of Athletics.
  • In 1997--and again in 2000--the Board of Education proposed closely South Vo-Tech, but no change was made.
  • Finally, in 2004, South Vo-Tech closed. Due to a declining student population throughout the Pittsburgh Public School system, the Board of Education was faced with the difficult but necessary task of closing some of its schools.
  • A building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, located within a City Historic District, and awarded a Historic Landmark plaque.
  • Some people are suggesting that the building be adapted for reuse as affordable senior housing, or as a dance school, or as a community center.
  • In 2010, Gregory Development acquired the former school buildings and began converting them to house 71 apartments. The apartments were originally estimated to be completed in late 2011. For more information, read the article in Pittsburgh Business Times.

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