New School Year Begins In Old Buildings

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WILKES-BARRE -- The first day back to school caused some jitters in Wilkes-Barre and not just for students.

District officials say work to repair an aging high school still isn't done.

At Coughlin High School, you'll see backpacks during the day and hard hats in the evening. Administrators say a lot of repair work was done over summer break but contractors still need a few more weeks to shore up this old building.

It's the start of a new school year in an old building for about 1,100 students at Coughlin High School in Wilkes-Barre.

The protective barriers that went up along North Washington Street in the spring are still there as contractors finish repairing a crumbling facade.

"There will be some work going on inside, but they will mainly be working after school to get it done, and they should be done within the first two weeks of school," said Coughlin High School Principal Patrick Patte.

The library is off limits until the walls are shored up.

At Meyers High School along Carey Avenue, the crumbling facade has already been fixed.

"I got a little nervous, yeah, because I was thinking what if something fell and hit somebody," said Tonyetta Cooper.

After dropping her kids off for the first day of school, Cooper says she's relieved that the orange fences are gone and she hopes that both Meyers and Coughlin stay open.

"With old buildings, they like keep a licking and keep on ticking."

"It should stay around, it's been there a long time," said Debbie Kotulski.

Kotulski's grandchildren go to Coughlin and she, too, hopes the district keeps repairing the buildings.

Administrators say a feasibility study should be completed in January to determine if the district should keep maintaining the high schools or find a new home for students.

"We were given a guarantee that the school is safe for our students, and in fact will be evaluated at the end of the current school year," said Wilkes-Barre Area School District Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak.

Administrators say Coughlin and Meyers High Schools are safe for this school year and it will be up to board members to decide what will happen to these buildings.