The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 26, 2014

Utilize Lewisburg's 'signature building'


The Daily Item

— As a parent and a taxpayer in this district, I am highly against moving the high school to the Newman Road property. We can do better, for less.

After reviewing what other schools have been able to accomplish across the commonwealth, I fully believe that the expenditure of fewer dollars could go much further in providing the necessary facilities for our students while continuing to support our community. Let’s look at how our school district can minimize as many costs and expenditures for our facilities, their on-going upkeep and programming, as well as the external costs associated with new or redevelopment.

We are living in an era of reduced public funding, tough economic realities for families and businesses, and skyrocketing costs for expansion of basic infrastructure not to mention taxes. We will not quickly return to a time where money is flush, especially in rural Pennsylvania. We need to be looking at ways to be fiscally conservative and socially responsible.

The state upholds a standard for sustainable investments in projects that receive public dollars. It is called the Commonwealth Principles for Growth, Investment, and Resource Conservation. The first three priorities are: Redevelop first, provide efficient infrastructure, and concentrate development. We would do well to consider this wise advice.

I think the LASD needs to reconsider their decision to build on the Newman property and understand better how a redevelopment and expansion of the current high school site could meet its current and future needs, contribute to the enhancement of the Lewisburg community, and reduce the future debt of our citizens. There will clearly be less externalized costs associated with a redevelopment than a new development on Newman Road.

We have a signature school building with high visibility on the town’s most prestigious corner location — it offers us tremendous pride and it reflects many important aspects of what our community values: education at the core of our people, accessibility to a diversity of community assets, and strong ties to the indisputable center and origin of this great town. Let’s not offer the opportunity of this valuable real estate to anyone else but ourselves.

There is never a wrong time to stop, alter or change a building project. I ask you to please rethink your intended projection on this project. 

Kim Wheeler, Lewisburg