PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board took another step in deciding where a new high school will be built.
The board was looking at four locations outside the city of Wilkes-Barre and voted Wednesday night to move forward on one of them, located in Plains Township not far from the Solomon-Plains Education Complex.
But before taking that vote, the board heard a lot of opposition to the project from taxpayers and parents.
“I am totally and vehemently opposed to this new school construction plan. I'm opposed to the consolidation plan and I'm opposed to it on practical and moral grounds,” said Wilkes-Barre resident Sam Troy.
There was no mincing of words as residents addressed the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board as they opposed both the building of a new school and where the board is looking to put it.
“I don't think you guys should vote, but if you do vote, I'd just like full explanations on why you guys think that whatever site that you're voting for is the best site,” said John Sochoslsi of Wilkes-Barre.
The school district is planning to close two of the district's three high schools, Coughlin and Meyers, and consolidate students there at one brand new school.
At a board meeting at the Solomon-Plains Education Complex, the board chose from one of four locations on where that school should go and voted to move forward with a site located between the Cross Valley, Maffett and Main Streets near the Solomon-Plains Complex in Plains Township.
The other three options included a site off East Mountain Boulevard in Plains Township across from Geisinger Wyoming Valley; a site off East Mountain Boulevard, in a wooded area behind office buildings on Baltimore Drive; and in an industrial park along Route 309 across from Kmart.
However, when many of the board admitted to not seeing all the sites, they were asked to table the vote.
“It's beyond mind-boggling to me that we could possibly have a vote when the entirety of the board hasn't toured the entirety of the sites,” said Joe Borland of Wilkes-Barre.
The board says a new school is the only option financially.
“How we can continue to do what we're doing, because we've been doing it, and look where we're at with our facilities and look what we face in our deficit,” said board member Joe Caffrey.
Although the board picked the location near Solomon-Plains, it does not mean the three other options are off the table.
The board could default back to them if problems arise with the first site picked.