HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – There are big plans for the former William Penn High School site. It sits along Division and North 4th streets in uptown Harrisburg.
The space has been vacant for years and Capital Rebirth, a Harrisburg based nonprofit, wants to turn the site into a trade school, a multipurpose center, and a stadium that could hold 20,000 people.
“We want to have 50 lecture style college classrooms. We want to have creative labs, at least 25 of them. That way kids can have these trades, learn these skills, and get these certifications and certificates,” said Mikell Simpson, Capital Rebirth founder.
The Harrisburg School District says it’s reviewing several offers for the 25 acre property. Capital Rebirth’s plan would include a multipurpose center, connected to the school, which would include a pool, several gyms, a food court, daycare center, a physical therapy center and a stadium.
“We can use tourism money. We can use this for our hotels and our restaurants to benefit,” said Simpson.
Capital Rebirth expects to find out within a couple months if the school district accepted its bid. The nonprofit started a GoFundMe to help raise money for its comprehensive site plan. The $60 million project holds special meaning to Simpson, a former student at William Penn.
“Capital Rebirth got started the day that I signed an NFL contract. I was told that I could never play again due to spinal stenosis bone spurs,” said Simpson.
He never ended up playing in an NFL game.
“I went into a very deep depression and suicidal thoughts, and the birth of my daughter rebirthed my life,” said Simpson.
He decided then, that he wanted to give back to the community where he grew up.
“We want to bring back what William Penn once stood for which is education through the Harrisburg system,” said Simpson.
If selected, Simpson anticipates the entire project will take 2 to 3 years to complete, with the project opening up in phases.
If the William Penn site doesn’t work out for Capital Rebirth’s plans, we’re told they have other sites in mind.