TRENTON - Students at Trenton Central High School may soon have a new building to call home.
State officials say they say they will move to replace the dilapidated building, rather than renovate it.
Local advocates say the new facility can't arrive soon enough. "This is a great day for the capitol city," says Assem. Reed Gusciora. "This is going to be part of the city's renaissance, and this will convince a lot more students to stay in school."
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Gusciora, who is one of the state's loudest voices for replacing TCHS, finally got the news he wanted from the Gov. Chris Christie himself, after this week's inaugural address.
"I said, 'Governor, I need a high school.' And he pointed to me and said, 'You're getting a new high school!'"
Trenton Central High School is 80 years old. Last summer, employees struggled to get the facility ready for the school year. "Once you come into the building and you see the building, it is very hard to walk back out and to ignore the things you see," says Principal Hope Grant.
The Schools Development Authority, the agency that helps struggling districts build new schools, had initially wanted to make repairs and renovations. Those plans switched from repair to replace after the department's new CEO saw the damage for himself.
The kids who have to study among the squalor will benefit the most. "The generation that follows, they're going to feel like they're worth something," says student Nu-Kermeni Kermah. "Right now I know a lot of students feel like I do; we feel like we weren't worth anything."
The school board still has to weigh in on the plan. It has a public meeting scheduled for Monday, and members of the public say they're going to be there in force.
Plans are in the works to keep the building's nostalgic early 1900s clocktower and auditorium.