HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – On Thursday, a meeting was held with the appointed task force is tackle the fate of the historic William Penn High School building.
It was the first time the task force heard any ideas and proposals.
“Everybody wants to see this succeed,” said task force member Melanie Cook.
At the end of September, the district court-appointed receiver, Dr. Lori Suski put together the task force.
It’s made up of 27 officials and community members and they were told to figure out all the possible options for what the district could do with the old William Penn High School building.
“Concepts that make sense from multiple levels we can provide education, it is a possibility of generating income and it is training for young people and training for adults and it can pull in again mentors from Harrisburg,” said Cook.
Nine members of the task force created a Career and Technology subcommittee proposing multiple ideas including using the building for:
Environmental Stewardship and Climate Technology
Harrisburg Academy of Theater, Arts, and Music
Cottage Industry Shared Workspace
The Entrepreneurial Incubator
Hospitality/Special Event Venue and training space
Video Gaming and Artificial Intelligence High School Certification Initiatives to be developed in partnership with Harrisburg University
PA State Police and Harrisburg Fire & Police Public Safety Academy
“This is a time for rebirth in this community,” said Cook.
Task force member Vern McKissick with McKissick Associates Architects presented its idea of renovating the building into working spaces, offices, conference rooms, and food café, the ideas are endless.
“I think we have potential here at William Penn to do something different to reduce it down, separate it and make it manageable pieces separate mechanical systems, separate renovations,” said McKissick.
But for others, that’s not the focus.
“The purpose of this task force is to figure out how we keep William Penn, we have no intention of doing anything else with it than what it was intended for,” said a task force member.
The big thing is funding, which is still being sorted out.
There are still three meetings left. In January, the final idea will be shared with the school board and the community.