Opening delayed for new Northern High School in Durham

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Thursday, August 24, 2023
Opening delayed for new Northern High School in Durham
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The new Northern High School is scheduled to open to students on Aug. 31.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Public Schools announced late Wednesday that the opening for Northern High School has been delayed and the open house date has changed as well.

DPS says the new high school will open on Thursday, Aug. 31. Open House has been rescheduled for Aug. 29 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

DPS said the delay is because of limited access for staff to prepare classrooms. School staff will be working through the weekend to get classrooms ready.

RELATED | Durham's new Northern High School almost ready to welcome students

"This decision to delay the opening of school was made after setbacks from last week's weather event and limited our access to the building because of construction requirements," DPS said in a news release.

"A school building project subsists on timelines. When a project is this close to opening, completing the final tedious tasks requires every minute leading up to occupancy," said Fred Davis, Senior Executive Director of Building Services.

Principal Danny Gilfort and NHS teachers are communicating the news and further instructions to the student body and their families.

"Our excitement hasn't waned. We're eager to start the new year with our Northern Knights, and anticipate walking the new halls together," said Gilfort.

DPS said only 10 staff members are allowed in the school at a time to prepare for the first day of school. The school's open house was pushed to Tuesday, Aug. 29.

Lakewood Montessori Middle School was also impacted by last week's weather event but preparations for the new school year should be complete before Monday.

Wednesday night school staff welcomed parents and rising sixth graders to the school for their open house.

"The enthusiasm the excitement," Lakewood's Principal Jones said.

Parent Stephanie Taylor said her daughter Madison was excited and nervous about the new school year. Madison is making the big transition from elementary school to middle school.

"Her biggest fears, you know, not fitting in not knowing everyone coming from an elementary school, where it was the same kids to a middle school where it's coming from different schools," Taylor said. "But I think she's ready for the challenge."

Sixth graders and their parents were welcomed to campus to tour the school and get adjusted to the new environment.

"Just to be a part of this community. This is our first time with a Montessori school. And so I think it would be a really nice change of environment for Frank to be able to work at his own pace, whether that's faster or slower," parent Kenya Dumas said.

Dumas' son Frank is a rising sixth grader at Lakewood Montessori and said he feels good about the new school year.

"I think I'm gonna enjoy the school year and my teacher," Frank said.

Students also used the time to find their lockers, meet their teachers, and prepare for the start of the new year. But Kenya says the preparations also start at home

"They've had a very long summer vacation stayed up late, and just trying to get them back into the habit of going to sleep a little earlier and make sure they can get 9 to 10 hours of rest. And then just getting back into the swing of getting to the bus stop," she said.

School leaders are also working to set the tone for the new year.

"I always start with trying to make it a great place to work for the teachers and build on their expertise and their talents in the classroom. And I'm really, really proud of the group that we've been able to assemble here at Lakewood. It's a fabulous group of teachers," Principal Jones said.