Students headed to class for the very first time in the new PCHS Monday. The new high school is built adjacent to the old building.

BOE mulls all options for former PCHS, including complete demolition

Will the old Pierce County High School be torn down?

That’s the question facing the Board of Education now that the new high school has been completed.

BOE members discussed the future of the old building during their work session last Thursday morning.

Assistant superintendent for finance LeVance Gay asked for guidance on what to do with capital improvement projects this summer.

The board has several special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) projects in the works, awaiting the completion of the new high school. Disposition of the old high school is included in the financing for the new one.

Additional pending projects include parking lot and track upgrades at the middle school and insulation and air conditioning upgrades at other locations in the school system.

Planning meetings have been underway for almost two years about what to do with the old high school once the new school is completed.

Gay said a number of good ideas had been given for use of the old building, but he said few of them are economically feasible. One of the main ones has been salvaging the gym for use for team practices at the high school and for recreation department use.

“We will no longer receive any state money for the building,” he said. “We said it was too old to renovate and maintain, so the state gave us facilities monies to build a new one. They will not provide any additional funds for the old school.”

Gay explained all future expenditures on the old building will be on local taxpayers.

Board member Chip Griner asked Gay and Facilities and Maintenance Director Harbin Farr for direction.

“We need the right information to make a decision,” he said.

Farr’s recommendation is to tear the entire building down.

“There will be lots of expense to salvage the gym because all of the plumbing and electrical is tied to the main building,” he said. “All of that will have to be re-worked and it won’t be cheap.”

No estimates have been given on the cost of demolition of the old building.

Built on what was then called an “open concept” in 1980-1981, the design of the old high school was the subject of much criticism and  ridicule when it was constructed.

The 160,000 square foot building was constructed for $5.9 million when it was built.

No final decisions about what to do with the old school were made at the meeting.

There is no timetable for a decision.