What to do with Harrisonburg Schools

By: Tim Saunders
By: Tim Saunders

As work continues on the new Harrisonburg High School, questions still remain over what to do with the old building. "The last thing we want to do is fund renovations for the high school and then in two or three years, because of rearangement of grade configurations, there would be more additional renovations that need to be done," says city council member Hugh Lantz. At the heart of this issue is the school board's plan to reconfigure schools. They say in order to do this, they need a new school. But City Council is still not convinced that needs to happen. Council is hoping that once the new high school is done, extra space will open up in existing schools. Recently, school board chair Tom Mendez made it clear that the area's groing population will demand that a new elementary school be built. Not so says Lantz. "We've had tremendous growth throughout the decade of the 90's and I doubt that we're going to continue to see that same type of growth occuring," says Lantz. TV-3 arranged to talk with Mendez on this issue, but he turned down our interview. Meantime both council and school board members say they're hoping common ground will soon be on the agenda. School board member Cathy Slusher tells TV-3 she plans to make a presentation to city council next week. She hopes to point out how city schools have changed and what they'll need in the future. It's an effort to help the two sides develop a plan that will ultimatley help the valley's kids.


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