WILKES-BARRE — Citing rumors spreading faster than they can be denied, Wilkes-Barre Area School District Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak stressed Coughlin High School will be open Thursday and until the end of the school year.
As he spoke briefly about the rampant claims that the school is closing, Prevuznak had to put off repeated calls on his phone and email alerts.
“The reports are absolutely incorrect,” Prevuznak said of alleged online postings claiming the school was closing because of risk of debris falling from the parapet or limestone facing on the century old building. “We are open for business until graduation on June 11 and the last day of classes for students on June 12. It’s as simple as that, it’s done.”
Prevuznak said the district sent out advisories to parents and students through the Skyalert system of phone and electronic messaging, and that he has called a local radio station that purportedly included a mention of the school closing on a Facebook page.
The structural integrity of the outside of the building came into question May 17 after an inspection of the parapet raised concerns about potential risks to students. The district fenced off several feet around the building, only allowing access through an entrance covered by an enclosed overpass connecting the school to a newer annex.
The School Board has since grappled with the problem, most recently at a special meeting Tuesday when Board Member Christine Katsock reported that most of the scaffolding the district had purchased in 2010 and planned to use to protect pedestrians at Coughlin pending repairs is missing. The district is looking into the disappearance of about 60 scaffolding frames from the former Wilkes-Barre Township school near State Route 309 and Northampton Street.