PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Thursday was a day of celebration in part of Luzerne County for the unveiling of a brand new high school.
Wilkes-Barre Area School District officials held a ribbon-cutting in Plains Township for Wilkes-Barre Area High School. It’s the first singular campus for all ninth through 12th-grade students in the district.
It combines Coughlin, G.A.R and Meyers High Schools under one roof. Hours after this ceremony, the district held an open house.
Wilkes-Barre Area High School took a few years of planning and a couple of years of construction. But now with the new school year about to begin, parents, students, and neighbors finally have a chance to get a look inside.
“Well, let me know what you think,” said Superintendent Brian Costello.
Greeted by Wilkes-Barre Area School Superintendent Brian Costello, Ph.D., a large crowd filed into the district’s brand new high school. The first stop, what’s dubbed Main Street, is the spacious hallway that leads to all parts of this very large building. Just how large? Try more than 403,000 square feet.
“I like it. It’s pretty big. I think for the first day of school I’m going to get lost, but I’m going to save my map for that day,” explained Shirley Bermejo, Sophomore, Wilkes-Barre Area High School.
The school was built with an emphasis on 21st-century learning for the 2,200 students who will make this their educational home.
“It’s spectacular. The opportunities that our kids are going to have are immense no matter, no matter what you want to do,” said Colleen Robatin, 12th Grade Principal, W-B Area High School.
12th-grade principal, Colleen Robatin, served as one of the open house tour guides. Each grade will have its own principal. Students will have access to the STEM Academy, Creative and Performing Arts Academy, Business Academy, and a library that doubles as an audio/visual room.
“It’s a really nice school. It looks really modern and I like the library because I like to read,” Fatima Muhammad, sophomore, Wilkes-Barre Area High School.
The school’s approach is to benefit both mind and body. A gymnasium houses two basketball courts and running track. Finishing touches are still being put on an eight-lane swimming center, while a wellness and fitness center is ready to go.
“It’s impressive. It’s beautiful. It’s like a gym that you think you would have to pay a lot of money,” says former Wilkes-Barre Area School Teacher Joan Kozich.
The school comes with an $80 million price tag.
“I think they’ve really stepped up, the Wilkes-Barre Area, yes,” said Judy Kishel, Bear Creek Township. Eyewitness News asks, “Do you think as a taxpayer you’re getting bang for the buck?” Kozich says, “Yes, I would say that.”
There’s one big piece left to the Wilkes-Barre Area High School puzzle, a football stadium. That should be ready sometime next year.