HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – On Tuesday night, The Harrisburg School Board met at 6:00 p.m. at its district office.
Dozens of neighbors packed the Lincoln Administration building in Harrisburg, ready to express their ideas and frustrations.
“This meeting tonight should have been held before any decision was made or any contract was entered into to demolish the building,” said a community member during public comment.
During the meeting, Harrisburg School District’s Superintendent Eric Turman presented a possible and potential vision.
“How do we give the students in Harrisburg the same opportunities that they have in Central Dauphin, that they have in Cumberland Valley? Where do the kids practice, where do they get a chance to play, that’s the green space,” said Turman.
Having a green space would give the district an opportunity to add more sports, which community members agree is needed. Just not putting a green space where the Old William Penn High School sits.
“Worry more about education,” said a community member.
A popular idea is bringing back the Career and Technology Center at William Penn which ended in 2010.
Turman says the concerns with that are staffing, sustainability, equipment, and money.
The district would lose the money already spent for students to attend Dauphin County Technical School.
“If you would create your own technical school, you would be stepping back and walking away from 5.5 million dollars that you spent in 2016,” said Turman.
Harrisburg’s Court-Appointed Receiver for the district, Dr. Lori Suski encourages Harrisburg residents and taxpayers to attend and voice their comments or concerns on what to do with the old school.
“It’s my understanding that the board wants to move forward with the demo. I’m the one who has to make the ultimate decision. And I just feel strongly that in order to do that, I need to be able to hear from the public before any final decisions are made,” said Dr. Suski.
Dr. Suski said that previously there was no public interface regarding this topic, and she wants to hear it.
The building has sat vacant for over a decade, becoming a hot spot for vandals. The administration had plans to demolish it, but Dr. Suski put that on pause.
Getting rid of the building altogether would cost about $7 million while renovating it would add up to more than $90 million.
“The bottom line is we are unable to borrow money as a school district we are not allowed to borrow money until what 2035,” said Dr. Suski.
She tells abc27 news she does not anticipate a final decision will be made at the meeting, as she expects new information to be brought to her attention.
No decision was made, which was expected going into the meeting. Dr. Suski said at the end of the meeting that at the next school board meeting on September 26th a task force will be appointed to look into all possible options presented for the William Penn High School building.