Feasibility study finds need for $300 million worth of improvements in Scranton School District

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Scranton School District is looking at how much it will cost to repair all of its buildings. The findings? Nearly double its annual budget.

Some of the cost of repairs range from $1 million to $75 million. The district doesn’t have to make these improvements. A feasibility study gives them an idea of what needs to be done for optimum performance for the buildings as well as those inside.

It’s no secret Scranton School District’s buildings are in need of repair as some have been in operation from a century to a decade.

“It’s been a lot of procrastinating on fixing a lot of things. I think if things were fixed in a timely manner we wouldn’t be in this spot that we are in now,” parent Jill Sweeney said.

A recent feasibility study looked at 18 of the district’s buildings, including Veterans Memorial Stadium. More than $300 million worth of improvements were found including continuing asbestos abatement.

West Scranton High School needs the most repairs, estimated at $75 million. Sweeney says the board of directors will have to find a solution.

“I really don’t really feel it’s a feasible idea to just close down all of these schools and put all the children together,” Sweeney said.

“Next several weeks and months, we will receive feedback from the community. We will have our own time to really digest this,” Scranton Cchool Board President Katie Gilmartin said.

Previous reports from Eyewitness News indicate the district is operating under an average annual budget of $165 million. Gilmartin says it’s just not realistic to do all the improvement repairs now.

“It will be a process of prioritizing what are the most pressing needs and I think also understanding what is going to have the greatest impact,” Gilmartin said.

The district plans to utilize some of its Cares Act and American Rescue Plan funding for capital improvements. $1.6 million in funding will be used this summer for more asbestos abatement projects.

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