Appeals from orders of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1966, Nos. 3616 and 3617, in re condemnation by School District of Pittsburgh of certain properties in the fourth ward of the City of Pittsburgh.
Justin M. Johnson, Assistant School Solicitor, with him Niles Anderson, School Solicitor, for appellant.
Wilbur F. Galbraith, with him Edgar J. Cooke, for appellees.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen.
These appeals are from orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County sustaining preliminary objections to declarations of taking filed by the School District of Pittsburgh.
On June 21, 1966, the Board of Public Education of the School District of Pittsburgh [hereinafter Board] passed a resolution authorizing the filing of declarations of taking for the involved properties. The resolution states that the taking is "for the public school purposes of providing necessary, useful and convenient parking facilities for school district employees and visitors to the School Administration Building, adequate facilities not being otherwise available, and for the additional public school purpose of acquiring a building site for desired and necessary future expansion of administrative facilities, in order to avoid excessive cost and waste of public funds if acquisition is delayed." After the filing of the declarations of taking, the condemnees filed preliminary objections which were answered by the Board. The condemnees then served written interrogatories on the Board and later secured an order for discovery by deposition. In answer to the interrogatories, the Board stated that no plans had been drawn for future buildings on the involved
properties and that the Board had not formally authorized the drawing of any such plans. The depositions of the Board's long range planning committee also indicate that plans for building expansion are unformed and only in the conversational stage. No hearing was held and no evidence was taken on the issues of fact raised by the preliminary objections. Oral argument on the preliminary objections was limited, with the Board's consent, to the question of whether or not the Board has the power to condemn property for parking facilities. The lower court sustained the preliminary objections solely because it concluded that the Board's condemnation power does not extend to the acquisition of land for parking facilities for administrative employees.
The Board's condemnation power flows from the Act of March 10, 1949, P. L. 30, § 701 et seq., 24 P.S. § 7-701 et seq. Section 703, 24 P.S. § 7-703 provides: "In order to comply with the provisions of this act, and subject to the conditions thereof, the board of school directors of each district is hereby vested with the necessary power and authority to acquire, in the name of the district, by purchase, lease, gift, devise, agreement, condemnation, or otherwise, any and all such real estate . . . as the board of school directors may deem necessary to furnish suitable sites for proper school purposes for said district. . . ."
Section 721, 24 P.S. § 7-721 provides: "Whenever the board of school directors of any district cannot agree on the terms of its purchase with the owner or owners of any real estate that the board has selected for school purposes, such board of school directors, after having decided upon the amount and location thereof, may enter upon, take possession of, and occupy such land as it may have selected for school purposes, whether vacant or occupied, and designate
and mark the boundary lines thereof, and thereafter may use the same for school purposes according to ...