School Administrators Search for Missing Scaffolding

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WILKES-BARRE -- The Wilkes-Barre Area School District may have to spend thousands more to put up scaffolding around Coughlin High School for a repair job.

School administrators have wanted to put up scaffolding here at Coughlin High School for a few weeks now.

The school board thought it'd be able to save some money by using scaffolding they bought a few years ago, until they learned that scaffolding is missing.

When word got out a few weeks ago that the Wilkes-Barre Area School District was concerned about structural issues at Coughlin High School, the district planned to put up scaffolding around the century-old building on North Washington Street.

Then a board member remembered the district had purchased scaffolding a few years back.

"The intention was to in fact try to save this district money," said Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak.

School officials searched for the scaffolding behind the district's supply building in Wilkes-Barre Township and found that most of the scaffolding is missing.

It's unclear whether it was misplaced or stolen.

Parents and grandparents of Coughlin High School students are concerned.

"Why did it get missing? And why doesn't anybody know where it is, you know? It should have been known before they even started doing this," said grandparent Rich Burrier.

The district has now hired a firm to put up new scaffolding around the building with a price tag of upwards of $20,000.

Administrators hope to have the new scaffolding up as soon as possible and to reopen the main entrance before the end of the year. But parents we spoke with say they don't want the district to be in a rush.

"It's going to be brutal on traffic," Burrier said.

"What's the scaffolding going to do? It's not going to hold a wall up. So I think it should just stay the way it is, have the kids go in and out of the second building," said parent Jamie Lee.

But the superintendent says parents have no reason to worry.

"This district has provided a safe perimeter so that school will continue for the rest of the school year," Prevuznak said.

The district is continuing to investigate the missing scaffolding. If it doesn't turn up and they believe it might be theft, then the superintendent says Wilkes-Barre police will be called to help.