The Lewisburg Area School District is set to begin a large construction project this fall, but not without some opposition. District officials say plans are moving forward to build a new $35.7 million high school and athletic complex, but some parents and residents say they do not want the new facility.
The people who oppose the project call themselves the Downtown Dragons. Those parents and community members say they would like to see renovations and an addition onto the current high school in Lewisburg instead of a new building.
Lewisburg Area High School has been located on Market Street in Lewisburg since 1929. According to district officials it’s time for a new building,
and this is where that new, $35.7 million building is set to go–just outside the borough–next to Kelly Elementary School on Newman Road. Late last week, the school board signed a bond to borrow the money for the new high school.
“There’s plenty of room to build a high school there with all the athletic venues we need and have room for growth for decades and decades into the future,” Superintendent Dr. Mark DiRocco said.
Superintendent Mark DiRocco says the current high school is too small. He says the district is able to pay for a new high school without raising property taxes.
“It is by far the best option of all the options we looked at. It will be the most cost-effective over time,” DiRocco said.
There is some opposition to the new building. A group of parents and community members formed a group called the Downtown Dragons. They are against the new high school and would like to see the building stay right here at the current high school with some renovations and a new addition.
“We really feel that we’re talking about what’s important for our students’ educational future,” Samantha Pearson said.
Samantha Pearson is part of the group called the Downtown Dragons. The group feels the Lewisburg Area School District will save money by staying in its current building.
“Given the amount the district can afford to pay back on a yearly basis, based on their own assumptions, means $30 million extra in financing for the project,” Pearson said.
Other people we spoke with say they are excited for the new high school. Randy Maslow says she sees both sides of the issue.
“It’s going to give the high school more space, more opportunity, more modern classrooms,” Maslow said.
Construction on the new Lewisburg Area High School is scheduled to begin in October. The superintendent says he hopes to have students in the building by fall of 2016. The Downtown Dragons say they are here to raise awareness and discuss the importance of having a school in downtown Lewisburg.