The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Saturday, September 13, 2014, at 3 p.m., during the Town of McCandless Community Day festivities. The groundbreaking marked the beginning of construction of the project.
"Joe, we thank you for creating this marvelous collection and for your dedication to preserving the history of the area, and especially for your generosity in donating it to the museum. We are proud to give it a permanent home," said Recreation Chair Bill McKim.
On the site will be constructed a beautiful replica one-room schoolhouse. It will house artifacts and reference materials pertaining to the Town of McCandless, NASD, and surrounding communities.The collection will be composed of items that Joe Bullick has gathered over a 20-year period. A local history buff and a lifelong resident of the area, Joe worked for the North Allegheny School District for 40 years.
Participants at the groundbreaking ceremony included Joe Bullick, Council President Robert Powers, Council Vice President Gerry Aufman, Jr., Council members Cindy Potter, Roger Krey, D. Lamar Oliver, III, and Ralph LeDonne, Town Manager Toby Cordek, North Allegheny Board members Libby Blackburn and Joe Greenberg, and A.W. Beattie Career Center Executive Director Eric Heasley.
An exploratory committee composed of Aufman, Cordek, and McKim identified the site and proposed a general design, which was approved by Council.
Since then, there has been an outpouring of support from the community. Many individuals and local businesses have contributed to the project, including Ralph Sterzinger of RSSC Architecture, Eric Heasley, Executive Director at A.W. Beattie Career Center, Barth Olds of Olds Engineering, Gary Herbert, Jim and Jason Singer of JASE Construction, Landau Building Company, Lowe’s Home Improvement, MTSA, Print King, Keystone Engineering, and Tom Carlins.
In addition to the replica one-room schoolhouse, the Pathway to the Past donor brick program was introduced during the ceremony. Everyone has the opportunity to participate by donating one or more engraved bricks for the walkway leading from the parking lot to the main entrance of the history center. Bricks with a personalized message can be purchased for $50.
The newly named McCandless/Northern Allegheny Heritage Center opened on May 20, 2017.