The Gateway community consists of the boroughs of Monroeville and Pitcairn. It has a residential population of approximately 34,000 and is located approximately 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. It is situated along the east-central boundary of Allegheny County with Westmoreland County to the east [map]; the cities of Duquesne and McKeesport to the south; the boroughs of Penn Hills and Churchill to the west; and Plum Borough to the north. Geographically, Monroeville surrounds the borough of Pitcairn. Monroeville is the larger of the two with an area of approximately 19.54 square miles compared to Pitcairn that has .46 square miles.
Monroeville is located at one of the busiest crossroads in Western Pennsylvania. Routes 286 and 48 are close to the Pittsburgh exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. They intersect near the center of the community. The close by Penn-Lincoln Parkway (376) provides 15 miles of uninterrupted travel to Pittsburgh and continues another 10 miles to Pittsburgh International Airport. Easy access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (76) and all points east and west, in addition to its proximity to the Pittsburgh business community, has made Monroeville a popular residential area for many people with business and professional backgrounds.
The Pitcairn area of the Gateway School District has a long and interesting history since the original settlement of McGinnisville was established in 1844. The industrial life of the area started when the Pennsylvania Railroad leased a strip of land for a railroad line to Pittsburgh. Passenger service soon followed and the town came under permanent influence of the expanding railroad industry. Between 1890 and 1910, the railroad initiated a vast program of growth. It selected land in the Turtle Creek Valley for a major railroad yard and overnight the borough, then known as Walbura, became the "boom town" of Pitcairn.
Monroeville was originally Patton Township, a farming and coal mining area with some fame as the first stage coach east of Pittsburgh in 1875. The area became a bustling community when the New York and Cleveland Coal Company mined in the heart of the community starting in 1914. Patton Township grew slowly until major improvements were made in 1942 on Route 22, the main traffic artery through the community. It continued to grow in size and population with most gains resulting from the past war boom in suburban living. Patton Township became Monroeville Borough in 1951.
Due to its favorable geographic proximity, numerous businesses and corporate research facilities moved to Monroeville, attracting a wide variety of people from all parts of the United States and numerous foreign countries. Monroeville now has a distinction of being known nationally as a research oriented community. Today, Monroeville is a thriving business and residential community with a strong sense of identity.
The School System
Before 1948, Monroeville students could choose to attend nearby schools on a tuition basis. In the mid 1950's, the districts joined and began making plans for a new senior high school. Official action began February 1956, breaking ground in January 1957.
The joint School Board selected the name of Gateway Senior High School. By September 1958, 900 students from Monroeville and Pitcairn were occupying the new high school. The first graduating class of 196 students received their diplomas in June 1959. For the next 25 years, grades 10-11-12 would attend school in the high school. 1983 marked the beginning of a new era at Gateway. Ninth grade was moved to the high school, South Junior High School became the Gateway Upper Elementary (5-6), and Monroeville Junior High School became Gateway Junior High School (7-8). Eleven years later, in 1994, Gateway Upper Elementary became the Moss Side Middle School (5-6), and Gateway Junior High School became Gateway Middle School (7-8). In 2009, Moss Side Elementary School was approved to be renamed Dr. Cleveland Steward Jr. Elementary School by the PA Dept. of Education. In 2011, Pitcairn Elementary School was closed.
Today, the Gateway School District, in cooperation with parents and other members of the community, provides quality educational opportunities for all students, promotes academic excellence in a safe and caring environment, enhances self-confidence through personal responsibility, and develops life-long learners who will be productive citizens in a diverse and changing world.