Filed Under Education

Letsche Education Center

A Non-Traditional Approach to Education

The Letsche Education Center, built in 1905 as the Letsche Elementary School, is an art deco building designed by architect Marian M. Steen. Originally occupying the lot at 1530 Cliff Street, a 1941 addition expanded the school to 1527 Bedford Avenue.

In April of 1975, Pittsburgh's Board of Education decided to transition Letsche from an elementary school to an alternative learning center. In the years following, Letsche began to offer programs for non-traditional students: the Twelfth Grade Special Program helped students who failed to obtain the necessary number of credit hours receive their diploma; the Semester Make-Up program allowed students affected by non-academic issues to retake courses for credit; the Ed-Med program provided classes to pregnant students; and the Project Retrieval program helped to re-enroll students who have dropped out of school to raise children.

The building was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

At a 2004 meeting, members of the Pittsburgh Public School District's Board of Education voted to consolidate Letsche and the Options Center schools, with instruction continuing at the Baxter High School in Homewood North. The school officially closed sometime around 2007, remaining vacant since.

In 2022, the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority approved the sale of the Letsche building with plans to convert it into forty-two mixed income apartments. Developers will also add an addition to the property including four townhouses and a garden space.


Letsche School Exterior The front of the Letsche School building, facing outward toward Cliff Street. Creator: Lee Paxton Date: March 20, 2010
Letsche Addition The exterior of the 1941 addition to the Letsche School. The building's art deco style can be seen in the paneling that sits above the windows. Creator: Lee Paxton Date: December 4, 2009
Letsche Students Students of Letsche Elementary School sit on the building's stage. Source: Charles "Teenie" Harris Collection, Carnegie Museum of Art Creator: Charles "Teenie" Harris Date: 1952


1527 Bedford Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219


Alyssa Chesek, “Letsche Education Center,” Hill District Digital History, accessed July 20, 2024,