The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 22, 2013

Meetings revive interest in proposed high school

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

LEWISBURG — LEWISBURG — Several scheduled public works sessions on facilities for the Lewisburg school board have restarted a grass-roots effort to raise interest and awareness about the proposed high school project in Kelly Township.

The first of these public sessions will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Donald H. Eichhorn Middle School’s large-group instruction room before the board’s regular session. There will be monthly public works meetings through the end of 2013.

An agenda for Tuesday’s session was not on the school district’s website by Saturday. Public works meetings generally address school construction projects.

Samantha Pearson, who is among a handful of residents who have long opposed moving the high school out of Lewisburg and to the Newman Farm property in Kelly Township, alerted people by email last week of the coming sessions.

“I would like people other than the few who have been involved, if they are concerned about this, to contact the school board,” Pearson said. “I believe these are sessions for the board itself and, as a result, must be public and posted but do not have to allow for much input or feedback.”

Concerns about the school project have simmered since about 2009, when vocal opposition to the high school plan was loudest. The $30 million project could be completed between 2015 and 2016 on the 201-acre property, which is near the Kelly Elementary School.

The project has brought about discussion on maintaining the viability of downtown Lewisburg once the high school moves out, the safety and cost of busing all Lewisburg Area High School students and the viability of improving the 80-year-old high school at Market Street and Route 15.

So far, the proposed high school project has gotten as far as the architect’s design for two athletic fields, 225 feet by 360 feet and 180 feet by 360 feet. The district will enter into a private-public partnership with a local soccer club, letting the district split the $363,000 cost for the fields.