Nightly News   |  January 23, 2014

NJ School’s Shocking Disrepair Prompts New Solution

The state now says they will rebuild 82-year-old Trenton Central High School, which houses 1800 students and staff.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> for his part tonight, governor christie has responded to an issue that has happened for years, right there in the shadow of new jersey state house . a high school in such disrepair would make any parent in the country wonder about sending their child there. nbc news started to look at conditions at trenton high school about two months ago. the word got out in the community and the local newspaper and now it appears that after so many years of neglect there could be finally a solution. our exclusive report tonight from nbc 's ron allen .

>> reporter: this is an 82-year-old historic building with a once grand facade. inside, some 1800 students and teachers work in shocking conditions, during heavy rain, the ceiling pours, a secretary protects herself here. in the cooking class, caution signs, the ceiling in this huge room, collapsed. this room is underneath a rest room .

>> whenever the boy's bathroom leaks, i start to hear the noise and i brace myself.

>> reporter: and there is the storage area.

>> i can smell the dead mice in the wall.

>> you can smell dead mice in the wall?

>> yes.

>> reporter: recent charges show repeat violations, leaks, exposed electrical outlets and fixtures, over 100 violations in recent years according to a court complaint. repairs have been made, but teachers like anne coleman insist the mold problem in her classroom keeps coming back. she took these pictures in september.

>> it was really bad, causing headaches, the kids in the back, have headaches.

>> reporter: they have sued, claiming health hazards threatening the students on a daily basis, and they demand repairs.

>> we stand before you begging for help.

>> reporter: the community could says lawmakers at the capital, less than two miles away of turning a blind eye . they say governor christie has been publicly asked to visit. he has not.

>> i don't ever wanted students to get comfortable and think this is okay and normal and acceptable.

>> it is embarrassing to go into another school and it is like you guys have this, this, and this?

>> reporter: now, perhaps a breakthrough, today as christie spoke at another embattled school, confirmation he will support a plan to build a new high school in trenton . why the apparent change of heart? after the tour last week and response to our inquiries, a top christie aid responsible for the school said he visited trenton high a day after getting the job last month and said there will be no more delays in getting the facility in the best possible condition. the state plans to submit its proposal for the school on monday, at trenton high, they hope to see vast improvements soon. ron allen , nbc news, trenton , new jersey.