WILKES-BARRE -- An area hospital in Luzerne County has offered to help the Wilkes-Barre Area School District find a new place to build its new high school.
Geisinger Wyoming Valley said it will donate 55 acres of land near its hospital along East Mountain Boulevard.
The property on East Mountain sits across from Geisinger Wyoming Valley's emergency entrance. It could be the site of the new high school in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District.
“They wanted to be a partner in education, a commitment to the community, and they knew we were looking for a site after we were denied zoning from Wilkes-Barre city,” said Superintendent Brian Costello.
The district wanted to build the new school where Coughlin High School sits on North Washington Street, but the city shot down that plan.
Now, in addition to the Geisinger property, the district is looking at three other sites and held an informational meeting to weigh the pros and cons of each one at G.A.R. High School Thursday evening.
Of the three other sites: one is on River Road and West Saylor Avenue. Another is a few miles away near the Seven Tubs Nature area. The third is a 50-acres plot along Baltimore Drive which is also near Geisinger Wyoming Valley.
All four locations are in Plains Township, not in Wilkes-Barre.
“Pagnotti’s just seems of all the sites that would be the most advantageous,” said one attendant.
Speakers at the meeting said the district doesn't need a new school and argued the board to put it to a referendum vote since it's the taxpayers who will be paying for the new building.
“The need for this school is still questionable,” said Sam Troy of Wilkes-Barre. “In my mind and many other people's minds in this district, the need to tear down Meyers and Coughlin is, at best, questionable.”
“Referendum, and I've been with that from day one. I think that's the right thing to do,” said Robert Holden of Wilkes-Barre. “The taxpayers are the ones that are going to be funding this. You, all of you, are on the hook to us.”
Of the four sites, the only one students can walk to is the River Road site. At the three other sites, students would need to be bused or driven.
However, there are issues with flooding at the River Road site.
The board is expected to vote on a location on May 3 at Solomon-Plains Elementary school at 6 p.m.