WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — From Skycam 16, we can see the almost completed Wilkes-Barre Area High School, an $80 million project that started in 2018.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony, leaders in environmental protection spoke about how important it was to take acres of old mining land--and transform it into something new.
"This site has a legacy of mining and employing 1000s. Today its legacy in education begins. And it begins with your vision to see a former industrial mining site that can be transformed into a vibrant community asset," said Michael Bedrin, DEP Regional Director.
Local lawmakers spoke about how this school includes opportunities for students no matter their interests.
"A world-class high school, filled with modern amenities like a STEM Academy, a Business Academy, and an Arts Academy. It's a sweet day to celebrate that achievement," said Senator John Yudichak 14th District.
"Personally, I like our CAPA facility. It's giant, there are practice rooms, there are pianos, I think it's very lovely," said Breena Kravabloski, incoming senior.
During a tour. Newswatch 16 got to see the auditorium, the Creative and Performing Arts wing, as well as an area dedicated to the sciences, the cafeteria, classrooms, and the new athletic and fitness facilities.
The school is leaving students and their parents, who also got a tour, speechless.
"There's definitely a lot of opportunity available here for not only me but future students as well," said Zackery Drake, an incoming junior.
"Yeah. Yes, absolutely. I feel like they did everything they could to keep our kids, you know, going forward in going to be safe and, and just excited and just excited," said Tina Drake, parent.
From the first moment you walk into the new Wilkes-Barre Area High School, you're reminded of the different school students who will be coming into the halls and merging as one.
"Obviously, we have all the schools combined. We started off with the wolf pack. We left the first three available for our wolf pack hardware that we do already have a few accomplishments in our athletics, and then we move on to, I think Coughlin here, GAR, then Meyers. Wow. So these schools are Gone but not forgotten. R: Absolutely. Gone but not forgotten. We are one," said Rob Watkins, 11th-grade principal.
"Yeah, we did combine a lot of schools into one great big family. We are one truly," said Ariellee Marquez, incoming senior.
These cheerleaders are supposed to show school pride.
They tell Newswatch 16 it's easy with a new school like this with wide hallways, brand new athletic facilities, spacious classrooms, and more.
"Oh my gosh, it was my first time being in the school with everybody. And when you walk in like your jaw just automatically drops, that's so nice. There's so many like school spirit you see wolf pack everywhere the televisions with all of the electronics on it, it's, it's crazy, it's, I don't even know how to describe it, it's so beautiful. It's nothing like we've ever seen before," said Nia Cruz, an incoming senior
Students told us they would have settled for just air conditioning but are ecstatic to be starting the school year within these halls.
"Yeah, we had a really hectic year last year, but I think that going into this new school where you're looking up to a great year," said Marquez.