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IMPORTANT NEWS UPDATE ON WILLIAM PENN

THE CITY OF HARRISBURG ISSUES EMERGENCY DECLARATION TO DEMOLISH A PORTION OF THE FORMER WILLIAM PENN HIGH SCHOOL

HARRISBURG, PA – As you are likely aware, a section of the vacant William Penn High School was unfortunately heavily damaged in a fire early on Monday morning. The Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline  suspected the fire to be arson, which the police have officially confirmed as of today.

The City of Harrisburg has issued an Emergency Declaration to demolish the portion of the building which housed the former automotive and welding instructional programs, as that was the area heavily damaged by the blaze. The State Department of Environment Protection (DEP) is now involved in monitoring and regulating that demolition process. Click here for the formal press release.

The District’s William Penn Community Task Force, which has been meeting regularly to make a recommendation for the future of the building and property, will diligently continue its work on January 4, 2024, as scheduled. The Task Force is expected to publicly make a formal recommendation for the future use of the property to the Court Appointed Receiver on January 18, 2024, with a formal presentation at a School Board meeting on January 23, 2024. At its December 7, 2023, Task Force Meeting, the group recommended against demolishing the entire structure, and rather is examining ways to renovate and repurpose the building.

The Harrisburg School District is immediately moving forward with officially cleaning out William Penn, including asbestos and lead abatement, and removal of all environmentally hazardous materials.

The District has no further comment and/or information at this time.