HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Last week there was a surprise development in the fight over what to do about the old William Penn High School. It seemed that the old building was headed for demolition but then the one person with the power to make that decision decided to take a pause.
So what is next for the historic but dilapidated building?
Harrisburg School District’s court-appointed receiver Dr. Lori Suski has the authority to stop the building demolition. Suski told abc27 she wanted to pause and put everything on the table, including the possibility if not demolishing the building.
Suski decided to pause after getting input from community members who she said hadn’t had the opportunity to express their views to the school board.
There’s already a $7 million contract to demolish the building, but Suski could stop that from moving forward.
That is because Harrisburg is different from other school districts. The elected school board is not really the decision-maker. Because of problems in the district over the years, the court-appointed receiver oversees the school board.
Corky Goldstein, a William Penn alumnus and a long-time resident shared his thoughts on the issue.
“If it was possible to preserve the building, I would be happy. But what has happened over the years, it isn’t possible. And these people are very well motivated who want to save the whole building, but that would be 80 – 90 million dollars at least,” he said. “My belief is, at least, this is a historic building, it means so much to so many of us, and to the city. And we could at least save the façade, and have private developers come in and bid and if they keep up the façade, these private developers get huge federal tax credits. So it’s very incentive to them to do that. That’s what I’m pushing for,” Goldstein added
Next week on September 12 at 6 p.m. the public will have the chance to speak before the school board to share their thoughts on the issue.