Pricey plan causing mixed reactions in local school district

Local News

Monday night we got to see the changes that could be coming to Altoona Area High School.

The new plans were laid out for a new building, which will replace the current B building and would be built where the athletic field sits right now.

Those closest to the project are excited for what it could bring.

“The B building, the existing building, has served the community well for the last 90 years,” Michael Kelly, from KCBA Architects, said. “But there’s a lot of spaces that are very difficult to adapt and certainly don’t work well with the academic curriculum that the faculty is trying to instill here.”

Supporters think the proposed 88-million dollar idea would solve overcrowding issues within the district and allow for 21st century learning.

“It’s the one thing that solves the most problems and we have absolutely made sure that the value of all of that money is going towards kids,” Kelly explained.

However the cost is drawing concerns about taxpayer dollars.

Jack Whitman is an Altoona resident with 26 great-grandchildren in the school district. He doesn’t think something of this extent is necessary.

“We don’t want to spend all this money,” Whitman said. “Fix the problem another way. They haven’t given us yet how much this is going to raise our taxes in the next 10-years. I think it’s probably going to raise our taxes almost double than what they are now.”

As we get a glimpse into what the halls could look like, leaders said the space is much needed to help build the future.

“It’s an investment in the future and it’s one project that touches every student throughout the district,” Kelly said.

The plan is not finalized yet, but if the school board does approve it in the coming months, the goal is to have the building done by the 2021 school year.

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