NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The future of Huntington Middle School and the Doris Miller Community Center sites in Newport News remains unclear.
Huntington was closed last year due to deteriorating conditions, and since then the city has committed to rebuilding it. The area is a seven block site with a lot of potential.
The city of Newport News hosted an open house discussion on the future of the sites on Wednesday at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center.
City planning leaders laid out five different plans that could be developed in the future, and gathered input to see what the community thinks would be a better fit.
“I want the city to understand, especially the planning department, that it is very important for our children to have neighborhood schools,” said Yugonda Sample-Jones.
The school that holds significant history now sits with boarded windows and overgrown grass. But leaders want to see the building and community area put to good use.
The city is looking into the possibility of making Huntington Middle School, Doris Miller Community Center, Pearl Bailey Library and the C. Waldo Scott Center for H.O.P.E. a shared use site and part of the Southeast Community Resource Area.
“Is there a way we can energize usage, so that people can come to one location and be able to have all the amenities?” asked senior planner Brian Pierce.
Sample-Jones came to ensure they know the community needs more than just a school
“I wanted to make sure that we’re thinking along the lines of inter-generational studies and teachings, because our elders have so much to teach and we have to be able to share that knowledge with our children,” Sample-Jones said.
Many of the plans only differ slightly, and most include the addition of a library and rec center.
“If they have the accountability in the community with the campus idea and these lessons in the classroom, then I feel like that will bring community more into the schools,” she said.
Sample-Jones and others placed their thoughts on the boards for what they think is the best option
“Just because it has the most dots doesn’t mean that’s what is going in. It’s a way for us to say this is important so how do we incorporate this or an idea like this into the site,” Pierce said.
There was no set agenda. Residents can come to the event at any time to discuss ideas with members of the planning department.