Latrobe, Pittsburg, or Natrona Heights

  1. Hi- I need advice. I am looking at the 3 CRNA schools in these cities. My husband, son who will be 2-4 yrs while we're living there, and large dog will be moving with me. I will be 31 when we move there and we are looking for a nice, fun, and safe place to get away for a couple years before permanently settling down back in OH where my husband's family is (I'm from NH) I have done a little research on-line, and the real estate looks very reasonable. We currently live in Columbus, OH, so it's only about 3-4 hours away, and we'll probably take a trip up there before moving, but if anyone has advice or personal experience to share it would really be appreciated! Is there anything you love or hate about these schools/programs or towns that you could share?? Thanks!
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    Little word about Pittsburgh. It is not a metropolitian city. You can live very close the the city without living in it. That way you can take advantage of arts and entertainment without paying highest wage tax in area. Right now it is about 6.5%(or there abouts) as comparered to communities that surround it. Boros and townships that surround the burgh have wage tax rate of 1-2%. If you want to get good wage tax rates AND low property tax rates buy a house outside of Allegheny County. Houses are so cheap around here that you would be better off buying one than renting, even for just a couple of years. My impression is that the closer into the city you live the more likelyhood of your finding child care. I am not sure of that, just an impression I get from listening to young people talk. Child care is not really a priority of mine.
  4. by   Logos
    Pittsburgh is a wonderful city. I'm a little biased I have lived here my entire life, but friendly people, nice neighborhoods in the suburbs, art, and culture in the city. Not to mention our Super Bowl Steelers. It's a nice place to be.
    Good Luck with your decision.
  5. by   Pompom
    Latrobe is a beautiful area. Another plus is that it is in Westmoreland county which = lower real estate taxes. Pittsburgh is a nice small city, areas around Pittsburgh some are nice others aren't. Cost of living is reasonable in any of your choices. If I knew 9 years ago what I know today I would have never bought my home in Allegheny County. My vote is Latrobe. Very nice area, beautiful scenery, close to Greensburg Mall. Nice home town feel. Hospital is good too. Lots of money in that area. Arnold Palmer is a major contributor to the hospital. St. Vincents College is an amazing old Gothic type architecture also where the Steelers have their spring training. It is also a reasonable drive to Pittsburgh, about 45 minutes. Good luck with your decision.
  6. by   Markthemalenurse
    Ilive in Avalon (a little borough just north of Pittsburgh) and the neighborhood here is great. I'm really close to Pittsburgh, but without the traffic and noise of the city. I agree with Logos, I am biased as well because I have lived here all my life. I am a product of the Pittsburgh Public School system and I think they are pretty good. Here in Avalon, the school district is Northgate and I like them a lot better than the Pittsburgh Public school. The disadvantage with the Pittsburgh Schools is that there are a ton of kids per classroom (If I remember correctly it somewhere between 20 to 30 kids per class). Northgate is a smaller school system with fewer kids per class (about 15 I think). Well good luck with the hunting!!!
  7. by   oramar
    Quote from Markthemalenurse
    Ilive in Avalon (a little borough just north of Pittsburgh) and the neighborhood here is great. I'm really close to Pittsburgh, but without the traffic and noise of the city. I agree with Logos, I am biased as well because I have lived here all my life. I am a product of the Pittsburgh Public School system and I think they are pretty good. Here in Avalon, the school district is Northgate and I like them a lot better than the Pittsburgh Public school. The disadvantage with the Pittsburgh Schools is that there are a ton of kids per classroom (If I remember correctly it somewhere between 20 to 30 kids per class). Northgate is a smaller school system with fewer kids per class (about 15 I think). Well good luck with the hunting!!!
    I hear people talk about Avalon and Northgate school system all the time though I have never been there. I guess it is as nice as they say.
  8. by   danh3190
    Depends on if you like country living or small city living.

    Latrobe's a beautiful area at the base of the Alleghenies. Seven Springs and Hidden Valley ski areas and resorts aren't that far away from there.

    The advantages of Pittsburgh have been described above.

    Natrona Heights isn't too far from Pittsburgh, just up the Allegheny River. It wouldn't take all that long to get to Pittsburgh from Natrona Heights as there's an expressway (PA 28) that runs along the Allegheny River.
  9. by   blondielb43
    My vote: I've heard good things about the program at Alle-Kiski Medical Center in Natrona Heights. It is a small community in Allegheny County, where property taxes are high, but just over the river from Westmoreland and Armstrong Counties. Armstrong's real estate taxes are probably one of the lowest in the area. A short hop on Rte. 28 expressway takes you back into the city and to major shopping areas, so you get the contrast between very rural and very urban. I think the program at Alle-Kiski is cheaper tuition, too. Good luck!
  10. by   daniw603
    Thank-you for your replies. I think I'll first apply to all three then decide from the one(s) I get into. It will probably take a trip over there to figure it out, but there's nothing like advice from those that actully live there! How is the traffic between Natrona and Pittsburg during "rush hour"? My husband will probably have to work in a city as he enineers in high-rise buildings. Maybe we'll look at a place in between! Again, thanks for the advice!
    Last edit by daniw603 on Jan 31, '07
  11. by   Shamira Aizza
    Quote from daniw603
    Thank-you for your replies. I think I'll first apply to all three then decide from the one(s) I get into. It will probably take a trip over there to figure it out, but there's nothing like advice from those that actully live there! How is the traffic between Natrona and Pittsburg during "rush hour"? My husband will probably have to work in a city as he enineers in high-rise buildings. Maybe we'll look at a place in between! Again, thanks for the advice!
    Since the best way to gauge how "bad" traffic might be, the best thing to do is to compare it to the other major routes going into Pittsburgh, and I would have to say that of all the major routes going into Pittsburgh, Rt. 28 going from Natrona Ht's is the most tolerable.

    But then, it really depends on where you are going in Pittsburgh.

    PS; "Natrona" and "Natrona Hts" are technically the same township, but Natrona is at the bottom of the hill along the Allegheny River (and close to the Steel Mill), and Natrona Hts is at the top of the hill along the expressway (Rt. 28). No offense to the people who live in Natrona...but you couldn't pay me enough to live in Natrona...but Natrona Hts is a decent community OTOH; I'd much prefer Natrona Hts over Fawn Township, Brackenridge, or Tarentum. It's definitely preferable over New Kensington or Arnold. Again, just my opinion.
  12. by   Calvin&Hobbes
    Hi, I think I can help you. I live in Westmoreland County, which is just east of Allegheny County. I applied to the three local CRNA schools. Will be attending Allegheny Valley Hospital School of Anesthesia in August.

    First, you should apply to the schools, go to the interviews, hopefully get accepted at one of the three programs, then base where you will live on that.

    Each of the programs is unique. Each is good.

    University of Pittsburgh SOA: integrated, 30 months, fantastic first time pass rate, MSN, many tertiary hospital sites which make up the famed University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Two classes each year, one starting in Jan. and one starting in Aug. About 25 in each class. They like traditional students: young, nice-looking, not too much outside demands, i.e., single or married with no kids, or married with kids and have a WIFE. Very polished presentation during the interview. Excellent peds rotation at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Lots of use of on-line resources, i.e., case tracking software, lots of class info posted online. A couple of distant clinical sites. The best simulation center in the country--I am not exaggerating. This program thinks it is 'all that'. And it is. Pitt and UPMC are located in Oakland, a city residential community. Bad traffic and parking. If I was in your shoes and going to Pitt, I would rent an apartment in one of the residential parts of the city. Like Shadyside, or the South Side, or Squirrel Hill, or even in Oakland itself. Your husband would miss most of the commute headache, living so close to city of Pittsburgh.

    Allegheny Valley Hospital SOA: integrated, 24 months, non-nursing Masters, excellent first time pass rate, long history, associated with La Roche College which is located in the North Hills, one class per year starting in August about 20 in each class, very personal and intense interview process, does not use internet for case-tracking or posting of class notes, etc. Does not have a anesthesia simulator. Affiliated with the West Penn Allegheny Health System, the only competitor to UPMC. Clinicals at 2 big tertiary hospitals and a number of smaller hospitals. Less peds experience than Pitt students get. If I were in your shoes and got accepted at the Valley, I would buy a house located in one of the suburbs located northeast of the city. That would put you equidistant from both Natrona Heights and La Roche College. Living anywhere north of the city gives you decent routes into the city and the least rush-hour mess, re: your husband.

    Excella Health SOA: front-loaded, 30-something months, non-nursing Masters, good pass rate, recently underwent 2 big changes. It used to be affiliated with La Roche College, but just last year began its affiliation with St. Vincent's College, which is in the Latrobe/Ligonier area. The person who was the program director, Howard Armour, is no longer the PD. He is an excellent teacher and a really nice guy, but he is going to be consulting around the country on program set up. I haven't heard too much good about the new PD, who was the assistant before. The two main hospitals of the program are Westmoreland Hospital, in Greensburg, and Latrobe Hospital in Latrobe. Greensburg is actually a city, and the county seat of Westmoreland County. Both Latrobe and Greensburg are east of Pittsburgh. Look on a PA map. If you live out that way, it is a nasty trip into Pittsburgh, since the horrendous going-into-Pittsburgh commute is from the east of Pittsburgh. But that depends on where your husband would have to work. Maybe he could get a job in Greensburg.

    You can't go wrong with any of these three programs.

    Hope this helps.
  13. by   daniw603
    Thanks! That helps a lot. Good luck to you!
  14. by   BigH
    Just a quick note to inform you that I (Howard F. Armour) am and will continue to be the program director at Excela Health school of anesthesia my office phone is 724 537-3879 if you have any questions. As Mark Twain once said"The rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated" email address harmour@excelahealth.org

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