Work to Begin on Old North Scranton School

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The full-scale renovation and rebirth of a historic building in Scranton is back on the front burner.

It is something we have heard before more than once and still the old North Scranton Junior High School sits empty and dilapidated on a hill at the top of Green Ridge Street.

The president of Goodwill Industries said Friday the state came through the with final piece of the puzzle Thursday to create a senior citizen apartment complex at the old school.

He said all the funding is now in place. He added this time it is real.

He expects construction on one of Scranton's most recognizable buildings to begin in of months.

We have heard it several times before, that renovations are coming soon to the old North Scranton Junior High School building.

Yet 24 years after the school closed, 18 years after Goodwill Industries bought it, it still sits empty, perched above North Main Avenue and Green Ridge Street.

"For me personally, it's been 18 years. I just wouldn't give up on that building. It's such an integral part of the city of Scranton," said Goodwill President Jerry Langan.

In 2005, then Governor Ed Rendell delivered $4 million in state money.
Langan was there back then, hopeful construction would follow.

It didn't.

Goodwill did put new windows on the front. It put in a new roof to protect the building, but nothing else.

Now Langan said the state has come through with nearly $1.5 million in tax credits, a step needed to get investors to fund the rest of the $22 million project, turning it into a senior apartment complex.

"This is it, this is it. Everything is here now. We already have our first planning meeting set up, let's get the project going," Langan added.

Jim Zaltauskas was the last class through the school. He is hopeful this time the project happens.

"It would be nice, really nice.  It's been down for so long, such a long time, the windows have been smashed," Zaltauskas said.

Even though Goodwill said all the funding is in place, that the project will be a reality here. After all these years there are still some who live and work around there who said they will believe it when they see it.

Mike Santarsiero works right across the street and is very skeptical.

"That's what they said the last time and the time before. It's the way business is done around here," Santarsiero said.

"You'll see the realness of it within the next few months because we'll be starting construction may or June at the latest," Langan responded to skeptics.

He added he expects the project to be done and seniors moving into apartments at the old North Scranton Junior High School by December 2013.

Newswatch 16 will let you know if and when construction begins.