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Norfolk Public Schools needs input for future of Booker T. Washington High School

The division has hired an architecture firm to make sure the physical structure of the school aligns with the academics it offers.

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Public Schools wants your input on the future of Booker T. Washington High School.

In 2019, the school board passed a resolution to hire an architecture firm to make sure students, specifically in the arts academy, are getting what they need to succeed.

The last time a study like this was done was when the existing school was built in 1974.

For the division, the goal is clear.

"Create the most premiere academy of the arts in the United States of America," said Executive Director of Secondary Schools Dr. Barbara Kimzey.

Right now, the high school hosts the academy of the arts where students can study theatre, music, dance and visual arts.

"Students go through their four years taking these rigorous courses, creating their portfolios," she said.

So, as part of a long-term plan, the division hired HBA Architects to conduct a "feasibility study."

Basically, they want to make sure the physical structure of the school aligns with the academic programs it offers.

"Making sure that the academy here at Booker T. Washington is every bit as vibrant and vigorous as it can be," said Mike Ross, the Architecture Educational Facilities Planning Director.

The division’s current financial commitment includes roof, HVAC and window replacements, along with electrical upgrades. Now, the next step is looking at the educational side of things.

Thursday night, community members had the chance to give their input.

Some spoke about making sure the students understand the competitiveness of their future careers and having knowledgeable teachers, among other things.

"The future should definitely include making the school more technologically advanced," said one community member.

One person emphasized the need for knowledgeable counselors.

"Give me the direction I need so when I graduate from Booker T. Washington High School, I have a clear path as to where I’m going," another speaker said.

If you didn’t make it to this meeting, don’t worry. You still have another chance to give your input. There’s another meeting on October 6 at the Ruffner Academy at 6 p.m.

To see the moving progress of the study, click here.

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