Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013
Repairs Underway at Harrisburg High School
HARRISBURG -- The aging Harrisburg High School is undergoing repairs right now to replace windows and part of the roof.
It's not the work school leaders were hoping for. Administrators want to replace the whole building, and they're still working on a viable, long-term plan for the facility.
"We just keep repairing the building, waiting for some kind of decision on what we are going to do long term out there," said Superintendent Dennis Smith.
While school work is going on inside Harrisburg High, construction work is going on outside. The windows of the gym are boarded up and three sections of the roof are getting replaced. Smith hoped there would be more change at this point.
"We still haven't quite got over the fact that the community gave us authorization to collect sales tax money and wouldn't let us build a high school with it," explained Smith.
Smith is referring to two referendums. In Spring 2012, voters approved a sales tax increase that would go toward school construction. A second referendum in spring 2013, asked whether that money should be spent on a new school, and it was rejected.
Parts of the high school building are more than 100 years old. School leaders could simply make repairs as sales tax money comes in. They could also take out a loan, borrowing against what is collected or try again to build a new school. But both of those options would require a vote.
Right now, officials are using money from Life Safety funds to pay for repairs. Nearly $1 million from the sales tax sits untouched right now.
Progress has slowed down because three school board members have resigned since April.
"Hopefully, now we have our final seven. Give them a few months to get a good feel for each other, and maybe we can get this thing back on the front burner," said Smith.
The current repairs will finish this fall. Roof repairs will resume in the spring. There's no word when the school board will decide on a long-term plan for Harrisburg High School.
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Humidity: 78 %