The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board has finally made a decision on whether to build a new high school and where that school will be located.
The district voted to move forward with those plans at a meeting Wednesday night to build that new school at the site where Coughlin High School sits currently.
“I would just like to ask the audience who is here by a show of hands to oppose the board's imminent decision to vote to build on Coughlin site, who here opposes the decision,” said parent Lois Grimm.
With hands raised high, the packed auditorium here at G.A.R. High School sent their message of opposition to a proposed plan before the Wilkes-Barre area School Board.
The board debating whether to reduce the district's high schools from three schools to two.
“By making a decision of this magnitude without consulting the public, the community in which this decision affects you are not honoring the trust that we put in you to respect this community,” said Gabby Richards, a 2011 graduate of Meyers High School.
The superintendent says Meyers and Coughlin, both aging schools, are financially and realistically beyond repair.
“Both James M. Coughlin and E. L. Meyers High Schools were showing signs of years of deterioration and neglect,” said Dr. Bernard Prevuznak.
The board decided the best solution was to close both high schools and build a new 9th through 12th grade high school on the Coughlin site, creating a new centralized school to take students from both.
The board vote 7 to 2 to move ahead with that plan to build a new high school and keep G.A.R. as the other high school.
“I don't want to see a combined school because how detrimental to education that is. all three city schools have the perfect number of students as far as enrollment goes as far as educational opportunities, academic achievement, extracurricular participation,” said Meyers student Josh Schiowitz.
There are 7th and 8th students at Meyers.
The plan for those students is to build a facility at Kistler Elementary and turn that school into a K through 8.
“This is just the beginning,” said Dr. Prevuznak. “I'm sure there will be some other options coming up but it's the start of a new school.”
The cost for this restructuring project is expected to be roughly $100 million.
The new facility could be ready by 2017 or 2018.