BY PAT LITOWITZ PLITOWITZ@NCNEWSONLINE.COM
Before the city's new high school opened, the project had to address community resistance and overcome hurdles. So Superintendent George Gabriel isn't surprised that more than 90 years later, the same script played out. "No. 1, there were discussions ... about where the location of the building was going to be," he said of the facility that opened in 1911. "In 2001, lo and behold, we were faced with the same issue." School boards in both centuries faced organized opposition to building at the Lincoln Avenue site. "There were a lot of people in the community for the project," said David Esposito of Eckles Architecture. "To be really honest, even the opponents of it weren't opposed to the idea that something needed to be done. The building was old. "There were people that were very passionate about saving that building built in 1910." It's been more than two years since approximately 1,100 students entered their new home, located on the grounds of the former high school. On Sunday, the junior-senior high school will be dedicated, and the community can witness the outcome and technological advances the building features. In an Internet interview with The New Castle News, featured at www.ncnewsonline.com, Gabriel, Esposito and district business manager Joseph Ambrosini talk about the project. Following are some highlights:
Why a new school was needed. "It had served generations of New Castle students, but had gotten to the point where it needed to have extensive work to make it able to be perpetuated," Esposito said. "The board was thinking that now was the time. "The majority of our work today is the renovation or the perpetuation of existing buildings. There are not many new schools being built relative to the number of schools being remodeled or reused. "It is kind of a bittersweet thing to tear down something that your firm created."
From old school to new school. "There's no doubt there was somewhat of a disruption," Gabriel said. "When the students returned (from Christmas vacation), they went to their lockers in the old building. They gathered up all their personal belongings, and we literally marched them into the new building. "Just to see the expressions on their faces as they walked through was something that was very rewarding for me as a superintendent to see.
The costs "There's probably not a day that goes by that Mr. Gabriel or myself don't talk about the finances of this district," Ambrosini said. "The funding's in place, and that's all good and well, but obviously we look out in the future, more than just even one year or five years. We're looking at probably a 10-year period on where we're going to be.
What the district is boasting about "Although we are so proud of our facilities ... we're more proud of our staff and our students," Gabriel said. "And I think if we have anything to boast about, we need to boast about how well our staff came together as a team during this project, how well the entire community came together as a team; how well our students came together. "If it were not for them we obviously would not be here talking today."