School web page: http://discoverpps.org/obama
Pittsbugh Public Schools’ Obama Academy 6-12 is located at 515 N. Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15216.
Obama is at the corner of Highland Avenue and East Liberty Boulevard at the edge of the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Highland Park and East Liberty.
Landmarks: The school is not too far from the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Obama Academy is across the street from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a diagonally from The Home Depot.
Obama Academy is where Peabody used to be. In reality, Obama used to be Schenley.
2. Building and parking
There is a modest sized parking lot at the front of the school that is generally filled to capacity on school days. In the evenings the parking lot most often has spaces for visitors to park.
Parking lot at Obama Academy at corner of Highland Ave and East Liberty Blvd.
Street parking around the school happens on East Liberty Blvd and along Highland Avenue. Avoid parking in areas needed for school buses at the end of the school days. School dismissal times extend from 2:30 to about 5:30 pm.
Visiting teams should park along Highland Ave, on the street, heading to East Liberty Blvd. If necessary, drive around the block to face in that direction for curb-side drop-offs. The school parking lot is suited for bus traffic.
3. Front doors
View from Highland Avenue. Front door of the school is up the steps in the dark hole in the center of the building.
Ramp from parking lot to the left avoids the steps.
Visitors enter the school’s front doors that face Highland Ave. Go to the middle of the building and walk up the steps or the ramp to the left.
The front doors of the school remain locked nearly all the time, especially when school is in session. At the front door to the school, there is a buzzer, a bit like a door bell. Pushing the button alerts the school security office. However, this buzzer won’t be helpful if the security folks have already departed for the evening. That generally happens at 7 pm unless there is a big event such as a basketball game or musical performance. First step, try the buzzer.
Coach Mark’s cell phone, 412-298-3432. Use this to get into the pool if the door is locked. We’ll send someone out to give you entry. Call. Do not text, as the text message won’t get noticed and you’ll be standing there for some time.
Entry into the school, just inside the front door, comes with a walk through the medal detectors.
Past the front doors, the office is to the left. Turn right and see the Obama swag and head through those double doors to get to the pool, gym, cafeteria and auditorium.
Hallway just past the cafeteria sports the Obama Eagles decor. A few historical elements from the days as Peabody High School remain in a couple of the trophy cases.
On the right are the doors that lead into the gym.
6. Final steps
Front lobby and hallway. Auditorium and cafeteria are to the left and gym and trophy case to the right. Pool doors and snack bar / student store are straight ahead.
The pool entry doors are generally open at night and in practice times when the pool is in use. Find these doors on the right side at the end of the school’s front hallway.
Swim pool at Obama Academy is with six lanes and 25-yards long. Pool has electronic timing and end-zone seating with pillars.
7. From the pool deck, more steps to the locker areas
Off the pool deck near the shallow end backstroke flags is a door that leads to the shower and locker areas for both the boys and girls.
Steps to the locker areas. Go down and the boys do a U-trun at the first landing and the girls go straight.
Since the move of Obama from Schenley to Reizenstein to the former Peabody building, a number of basic building modifications have been suggested. We hope that the accessibility can be improved so that the school and its pool can a better community resource and eventually comply with the ADA law passed in 1990.
The swim pool needs an accessible family changing room / rest room somewhere on the same level as the pool deck. Presently, if anyone wants to go swimming, expect to go down and up two flights of steps to reach the pool’s showers, bathrooms and locker areas.
Restroom upgrades were made in other parts of the building in the summers of 2016 and 2017. In the summer of 2018, the school is going to be used as a site for PPS’ Summer Dreamers Academy. We want to keep the pool opened in the summer of 2018.
A proposed new entry to the swim pool could serve as a conduit for entry and exit from the street and sidewalk to not only the swim pool but also to the athletic field.
The swim pool would be well served with an entry into the pool area directly off of the front sidewalk on Highland Avenue into a new foyer and lobby that is presently only a back door to the pool. A lighted, covered, entry that goes right into the pool area would offer higher levels of safety, security and convenience.