NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — In front of the old Huntington Middle School Thursday, Newport News city leaders revealed the next chapter — plans for a new, state-of-the-art Huntington Middle School.

“This means a new beginning for our students,” said Newport News School Board chairwoman Lisa Surles-Law. “It means an opportunity that they get to feel like they’re on a level playing field and that they have a school that they can feel proud of.”

The school will be part of the Southeast Community Resource Area. The $132 million project is expected to be life-changing for future students.

“We’re in a 21st, 22nd century building,” Surles-Law said. “The opportunity and the supports that we give them with a space that supports that type of teaching and learning is invaluable.”

The event Thursday also meant saying goodbye to the old Huntington Middle, which stood as Huntington High School before that.

Huntington High was the first high school for African-American youth in Newport News, and for a time was considered one of the most outstanding schools in Virginia.

“We cannot move forward without celebrating and honoring the rich history of this iconic school,” said Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones. “It has produced leaders, senators, mayors, doctors, educators, scientists, and the list goes on.”

Evelyn Alston was in one of the last classes to graduate from Huntington High and brought her yearbook to prove it.

“That’s me,” she said, pointing to her photo in the yearbook.

Alston has fond memories of the school and how many lives it helped shape.

“Huntington High School was a fantastic school,” Alston said. “We grew up being kind, courteous, encouraged to be supportive, to be courteous, to do the best we could in our studies and in our community activities as well.”

And while it’s sad to see it go, she knows great things are in store for the future of Huntington.

“To hear what’s in store,” she said, “Huntington will rise again.”