Just when it seemed plans for the former Schenley High School building were settled, things appear unsettled all over again.
Less than a week after opening the four bids it received Jan.18 to purchase the property, the school board voted to spend additional money to re-evaluate the building’s condition.
Board member Regina Holley said she was responding to an on-line petition with more than 1,000 signatures calling for an investigation of the school’s closing in 2008.
Subsequent engineering analyses indicated the asbestos problem is not as extensive as originally thought, and that the repair estimates for the building ranging from $64 million to more than $80 million were excessive.
“This is simply about getting some accurate numbers,” said board member Mark Brentley. “It’s not a waste of time.”
Holly said she wanted the numbers to see if the school could be reopened. However, there is no estimate on what the study would cost or how long it would take. She said she would like to reopen it as a school. Curiously, two of the bidders also submitted plans for schools.
Board member Jean Fink voted against the measure but said she understands it because a lot of board members either went there or had children who did.
“This is more than just the asbestos, the ventilation systems is shot, and you’d have to tear down the walls to replace it because of how they built it in 1913,” she said. “We don’t have the money to fix it, and even if we did, we don’t have the students to put there.”