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City gets input from community on Huntington Middle School and Doris Miller Community Center sites

Residents were encouraged to attend either meeting to share their ideas and comments on the site usage, as well as how to enhance the quality of life in the area.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Newport News’ Planning Department is giving the public a look at the potential use for the Huntington Middle School and Doris Miller Community Center sites. They want input and suggestions on how to move forward with the area.

“What the community says it wants is what they should see in the final design,” Senior Planner Brian Pierce said.

The school and community center area is a seven-block site from 28th to 35th streets between Wickham and Orcutt Avenues.

There are five different concepts. City leaders are trying to figure out if they should make the area a shared use site, which means some buildings may move and other facilities might expand.

Those buildings include Huntington Middle School, Doris Miller Community Center, Pearl Bailey Library and the C. Waldo Scott Center for H.O.P.E.

“As a school board member, it's not about what I want but what the community wants to see to move forward,” School Board member John Eley said.

Eley believes the school division and city council are on the right track.

“We're working on giving a timeline,” Eley said.  

Margaret Bristow attended the open house discussion Wednesday morning. She said Huntington talks are important to her.

Bristow is a life-long Newport News native who went to the Huntington High School.

“Huntington gives me pleasant memories,” Bristow said. “I want Huntington built as a state-of-the-art school because it will produce future leaders.”

Huntington is a hot topic in the city, especially since it closed its door a year ago because of the building's declining conditions.

The school division launched a feasibility study to guide the next steps for the middle school. Based on the study, the school division needs to replace with a new building.

City planners will take the feedback they get and ultimately present it to the city council and the school board in September.

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