NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Public Schools has approved a new site layout for Huntington Middle School.
The Newport News School Board voted 4-3 Tuesday night to approve the proposal.
On Monday, we also got a first look at the proposed layout for the new Huntington Middle School site.
The plan is part of a multi-million-dollar project to move and reconstruct Huntington Middle School as well as redevelop seven blocks of community space in southeast Newport News.
Mayor McKinley Price told 10 On Your Side the layout is a win-win since students will have a brand new state-of-the-art school. The community will keep the original entrance for the old school, which will be turned into a community center.
The goal, Price explains, is to retain the spirit of the historic school while improving the quality of life for the Southeast Community of Newport News.
“It was the center of the community,” Price stated.
The proposed layout relocates the middle school from 34th Street to 28th Street where a new school will be built. The old location will be reconstructed into a new community center, sparing the front entrance.
“What we’re doing is preserving the original historic part of the building, the 1935 original part of the building, the entrance of the building,” Price said.
However, not everyone agrees on the plan. 10 On Your Side talked to some of those people ahead of the meeting Tuesday.
Price, an alum of the school himself, acknowledges that not everyone agrees with the layout and relocating Huntington.
“It’s a one-way street and it has cars parked on it, so that makes it even more dangerous. We don’t know if they did any kind of traffic or feasibility study or anything like that to determine if it’s a good place to have the school,” said the Rev. James Brown, an alumnus of Huntington when it was a high school.
Jannie Bazemore also attended the school and has no problem with rebuilding it. She just wants it to stay in its current location.
“We just want to keep that icon in our community,” Bazemore stated.
Rodney Hunter, another alumnus, told 10 On Your Side there has to be a better solution.
“It is part of our history and I am sick and tired of people disregarding us,” Hunter said.
Price ultimately wants those to know the plan was selected because it retains a part of Huntington’s history while providing the best opportunity for students in the Southeast Community.
“I still, when I walk in that school today, I tear up because it was one of the best times of my life. It meant so much to me,” Price explained.
He says the goal is to have construction on the new school completed in 2023.
Additional features include a splash pad, tennis courts, multipurpose field, amphitheater and community gardens.
Huntington alumni planned to speak against the layout during Tuesday night’s board meeting.