Trenton Central High has fallen in disrepair and many consider it a health hazard to students, but long-awaited changes could soon be in store.
It is one of the oldest and historic high schools in the Garden State. The new plan would balance the concerns of those who want to preserve schools historic look and the need for a 21st century facility.
After years of setbacks and disagreements, it looks like Trenton Central High, the crumbling, leaky, mold and asbestos-ridden building on Chambers Street, built in the 1930s, will finally be replaced.
"The hope that our children will be able to be in a building that has air that circulates that does not pose potential health risks to them is obviously great and wonderful news," says Principal Hope Grant.
The schools development authority tells Action News it will present a proposal to the school board Monday night that will retain the historic Clock tower and façade, but completely replace the rest of the dilapidated structure.
The state will pay the entire cost.
"The conditions in this building are so severe that repairs would not have been enough," said Naomi Johnson LaFleur, Assistant President Trenton Education. "Our children need a new building."
Students, parents and teachers have complained four years about conditions inside the school.
"You compare it to other schools, it makes you feel like really? Is that how much I'm worth? It's a new start for us, a new beginning," said student Nu-Kermeni Kermah.
Word about the plan to replace the high school came after Gov. Christie's swearing in Tuesday.
Democratic Assemblyman Reed Gusciora offered his congratulations, snapped a selfie with the governor and started talking.
"I said 'Governor, I need a high school.' And he just pointed to me and said 'You're getting a new high school," said Assemblyman Gusciora.
A surprise to some, because during a disagreement in 2012 Christie made headlines when he called Gusciora "numbnuts".
"He can call me anything he wants. I just congratulate him for recognizing that this school is in dire need of replacement," said Assemblyman Gusciora."The idea is to get everybody on the same page," said PTA President Mark Goodman. "Hopefully, come Monday, this will be it." The total cost of the project is unknown at this point, but if the school board gives it's okay next week, the state wants to fast-track the project and begin demolition sometime next fall.