Fate of dilapidated Huntington Middle School in limbo

Huntington Middle School

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Huntington Middle School holds a lot of history for the community of Newport News.

It’s been standing for over eight decades.

It was first built as an all-black Huntington High School before desegregation.

Huntington High School alumni, like Patricia Taylor, say this school means everything to them.

“Those of us that are still living and have graduated from this school, it’s the heart of who we are,” said Patricia Taylor with the Huntington Alumni Association.

After 82 years of wear and tear, school board chairman Gary Hunter says it’s just not safe.

“The air conditioning works sometimes, the heat works sometimes, I know there is a problem on the third floor that we can’t use at all,” said Hunter.

Hunter says it would cost over $36 million to build a new school and $20 million to bring the existing one up to code.

However, architects who conducted a study on the district’s schools last year told him it wasn’t worth putting anymore money into.

Now, the city is funding another year-long, multi-million dollar study to figure out what they can actually do with the building.

“Do we keep the building, do we tear the building down, do we do a combination of a middle school and some type of community center, that’s a bigger problem and bigger decision not just for the school system, the city and community as a whole,” added Hunter.

Hunter explained the next step is figuring out what to do with the students.

He says even if they decide to renovate or replace the school, the kids can’t stay.

On Tuesday, the superintendent will give a recommendation on whether or not the students can relocate to other schools in the district.