Proposed fit-out for Huntington Middle School has alumni worried about relocation, renovation

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia – The Newport News School Board has approved a plan to move Huntington Middle School to Newport News, but not everyone agrees with the multi-million dollar project.

With the school board’s vote to approve the project on Tuesday night, the old college location will be turned into a community center. The motion carried with a 4-3 vote.

Newport News Mayor McKinley Price said a new state-of-the-art school is a victory not just for the community but for the students. However, he also said the plan didn’t necessarily pay homage to the building’s history.

Huntington Middle School was originally designed as a high school with roots on Orcutt Avenue, but it will move to 28th Street if adopted.

Some former students, including Samuel Hawkins, fear their memories will be erased.

“I’m not for moving. I think staying in one place is a good thing,” Hawkins said. “This is where we know Huntington. This is our home ground.”

“The education, the way the teachers cared about us, I think it’s part of our heritage, more than anything,” Hawkins continued.

The old college has been closed since 2018 due to deteriorating conditions, forcing students to share a school with high school students.

“I was there and I went to high school. There were maybe 2,300 kids there, so the conceptions of middle school and high school are totally different,” Price said. “We added up what we looked at, what we were going to have to invest to modernize this school. We decided to build a new school.”

Price, a former student at the school, said this would provide the best opportunity for students in the community.

“I’m still tearing myself to go to this school, thinking about the memories I have there, and being able to provide a new facility for the kids is going to be wonderful while still preserving Huntington’s legacy,” Price said. .

Ron Curtis, another alumnus, said at first he was on the fence about the change but cares more about the education of the students.

“The ultimate plan for the students, they come first. It’s the ultimate plan number one – that the students come first and the school second,” Curtis said.

“I can’t wait for us to get started,” Price said. “Of course, the school is going to be built first, and we can’t wait to start doing that. Hopefully the schools understand that we will follow the program.”

Price tells us that some of the improvements during the construction of the new school will include tennis courts, a wading pool and an indoor pool. Price said the goal is to complete this project by 2023.

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