Welcome To The Wolfpack
PLAINS TWP. — Wilkes-Barre Area School District teams will be known as the Wolfpack in the 2019-20 school year, and new team colors will be black and Carolina blue.
The school board approved the choice of new colors and a new team nickname/mascot at Thursday’s meeting. The choices were based on a survey of students and employees.
The district is merging the sports teams at its three high schools — Meyers, GAR and Coughlin — in 2019-20 due to declining student participation and also plans to merge the three high schools into a new high school in Plains Twp. during the 2021-22 school year.
Wolf was a the most popular choice for mascot, and the “three schools are coming together as a pack,” Superintendent Brian Costello said. Black was the most popular color choice, board member Denise Thomas said.
“I am proud to be part of this history,” board member Ned Evans said.
In November, the board plans to appoint head coaches for unified fall 2019 teams. Applications for head coach positions will be accepted between Oct. 12-18.
Also Thursday, the board approved a resolution Thursday establishing a maximum cost of $137.3 million for the new high school project and also scheduled a public hearing on Oct. 29 to outline construction and funding costs. The board plans to borrow funds through a bond issue to build the new high school.
The district is buying an 80-acre site in Plains Twp. for the new school from Pagnotti Enterprises for $4.25 million.
The district can’t spend more than $137.3 million on the project, and officials hope the cost of the project is significantly less than the maximum amount after bids are opened and awarded, Solicitor Raymond Wendolowski said.
Officials also expect to get around $13 million from state reimbursement funding. The debt to fund the project will initially increase the annual cost of total debt payments by about $4 million, Superintendent Brian Costello said.
The new school will have 120 classrooms and a pool, Costello said. GAR, Coughlin and Meyers do not have pools in their buildings.
The consolidated high school was only going to merge Meyers and Coughlin. But the board added GAR to the plan in August after learning the district would not lose state funding by adding GAR in the consolidation.
The district added 28 more classrooms in the design plan for the school after GAR was added to the consolidation, Costello said.
School officials have said building a new consolidated facility will cost significantly less than repairing aging high school buildings, and they claim the consolidation will reduce personnel and operating costs.
Richard Holodick and attorneys Kim and Ruth Borland, all members of the anti-consolidation group Save Our Schools, criticized the decision to build on the Pagnotti site. Kim Borland said building on that site is too costly.
Holodick told the school board the site is too risky because of previous mining activity at the site. School officials have said the site will be safe because of environmental safety measures that will prevent exposure to potentially harmful soil.
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