By Michael P. Buffer, Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice
PLAINS TWP. — The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board voted 6-2 Monday to explore the development of a plan to demolish Meyers Junior/Senior High School, preserve the auditorium portion of the school building and renovate the football stadium on the Meyers site in South Wilkes-Barre.
The board also authorized the design of a second football stadium in the district at Solomon Plains Junior High/Elementary School in Plains Township. The natural grass field there now doesn’t have lights or spectator seating, and the district may install artificial turf there.
The cost estimate of both plans is $20 million to $24 million, Wilkes-Barre Area Superintendent Brian Costello said.
The remaining portion of the Meyers building could be used as a community performing arts center and could possibly be used as a regional magnet school for performing arts, Costello said.
The community in South Wilkes-Barre would also have access to the renovated football field and track for recreational purposes, Costello said.
The school district can move ahead with this plan because the state has secured funding to distribute assistance for school building projects, Costello said. The district expects to receive $20 million to $24 million in state funding for current projects, including the expansion of Kistler Elementary School in South Wilkes-Barre and the construction of a new high school at the Coughlin High School site in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
Those projects will cost more than $100 million, and the new high school building would allow Coughlin and Meyers to merge in 2020.
The district could install seats, lights and artificial turf at the football field at Solomon Plains next year. The cost estimate is $5 million to $7 million.
The phase to demolish Meyers and preserve the auditorium portion of the building could start in 2020 and is estimated to cost $13 million to $15 million.
Renovating Wilkes-Barre Memorial Stadium at the Meyers site could start in 2022, and the cost estimate is $2 million.