NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The future may soon be clear for Norfolk’s oldest high school. Maury High School tops the list of buildings for Norfolk Public Schools to either replace or renovate. The more than 100-year-old building suffers from water damage and deterioration.
We’ve previously reported on four possible proposals for the school.
Now, there’s a fifth option.
This past October, the Norfolk school board explored four proposals from architectural firm HBA. Two of those options renovated the existing school, while the other two demolished it with a complete rebuild.
During Wednesday night’s school board meeting board members unanimously approved consideration of a fifth, unsolicited proposal from WPA. WPA aims to build a new school while preserving the historic building.
“This is an issue of intense interest in our community,” said Karen Reynes of the Ghent Neighborhood League during Wednesday’s public comment.
An issue, affecting more than 1,500 students as well as the surrounding community.
Mel Price, a lifelong Norfolk resident and architect at Work Program Architects, or WPA, submitted an unsolicited building and preservation proposal for Maury High School this past November. That proposal was made public this week.
“We’ve witnessed the community beginning to fracture over this issue over conversations that were not fully informed. We care about the schools, the city and an open, transparent and educated public process,” Price told school board members and the public.
The plan by WPA, Heartland Construction, VMDO and Monument proposes a brand new four-story school along 20th Street, a new multipurpose field and three-story parking garage. The historic Maury building would be converted into housing and would be eligible for tax credits.
The plan is similar to HBA’s B2 $158 million proposal that was presented last fall and favored by the school board.
The main difference is that WPA’s proposal keeps the historic building intact instead of tearing it down.
“The students are the priority, and we fully support Norfolk Public Schools’ need for a new building,” Price said.
This month Maury High School was listed as one of ‘Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places’ by Preservation Virginia.