PITTSBURGH – Dagostino Electronic Services, Inc. (DES) is located on Mifflin Road in Pittsburgh’s east side neighborhood of Hays in the former Hays School building.
President Bob Dagostino purchased the 30,000-square foot school in 2003. At the time, it had sat empty for 30 years.
The Hays School, now home to Dagostino Electronic Services, pictured in a black and white photograph from the mid-1900s. (Detre Library & Archives, Sen. John Heinz History Center)
Built in the early 1900s, the Hays School was named after coal mining pioneer James Harden Hays who opened his first coal mine in the area in 1828.
An addition was added to the left side of the building in the early 1930s.
The school closed in 1973.
In the early 2000s, DES was quickly outgrowing its office space on Banksville Road and needed something bigger.
Dagostino liked the idea of renovating a former school because K-12 education is a market DES supports and has always worked closely with.
The brick building itself was in decent shape but there was a lot of work to be done inside.
“My father’s quote was ‘you’re a glutton for punishment,'” Dagostino recalled when talking about the condition.
Dagostino and his own crew did the electrical, drywall and demolition work. Contractors were hired to replace windows and plumbing.
Lack of parking was a big problem. Dagostino bought two city-owned lots and three houses surrounding the school and demolished those to add parking. He’s since purchased two additional houses to expand parking as his company grows.
The school had 14 classrooms. One is now the conference room and another the company’s lunchroom. Others were divided into offices.
The gymnasium is now a data center and the former kindergarten area on the first floor is now the company’s warehouse.
All the old boilers and fans were removed. The old nurse’s office was converted into a power room.
After about a year of renovations, the building was ready for DES employees to move in.
Below are pictures of the building when it was purchased by Dagostino in 2003 and today. A very cool transformation!