Elementary School Future Uncertain

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Parents and the school board gathered in Scranton Wednesday to discuss the future of Audubon Elementary School.

The John J. Audubon School closed in 2010 after mold was discovered along with a number of other problems.

An architect presented five possible options to members of the school board at a meeting Wednesday night at Isaac Tripp Elementary School.

The first option would be to close Audubon and redistribute students to Prescott and Whittier Elementary Schools. This would cost essentially nothing.

Another option is to repair Audubon, which would cost about $3 million.

The architect also suggested an upgrade and renovation to Audubon.

Cost estimates would reach around $8 million.

The city could also tear down Audubon and build a new one, an $11.5 million project.

The last option would be to combine Audubon and Prescott and build a new, larger school in a new location costing the city $17 million.

Superintendent William King said he is in favor of a new, larger school, but students may have to go to other schools for a few years.

"The economic situation we're in right now, with these massive cuts we've been getting at the state level this past summer, that might not necessarily be economically feasible right now," said King.

"I don't want to see a band-aid put on the old school," said Patrick Moore of Scranton, who is also pulling for a new school for his four-year-old son, who attends Audubon. "It's a beautiful old school. I've actually been in there and I'd hate to see that gone. I think they'd be putting a band-aid on it and it's not going to last."

"I hate the option of tearing down the building," said Dottie Bosley, whose children went to Audubon. "That would be horrible. Frankly, there's so much ugly in Scranton. Tear down the ugly and keep the beautiful."

King said a public hearing will be scheduled so people can voice their opinions. He said he hopes the school board makes a decision by the end of the current school year.