Northern High opening delayed until after Labor Day

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Students and staff excited about new Northern High School
Northern High School staff is ready to welcome students after delaying the opening for a few days.

Northern High School is finally preparing to open after construction forced the new school to push the start date for classes back.

Late Wednesday, Durham Public Schools (DPS) leaders announced that Northern High School won't open until after Labor Day.

DPS sent ABC11 a copy of the message that Superintendent Dr. Pascal Mubenga sent to students, parents and staff Wednesday evening:

Dear Northern Knights, I know that you have questions and concerns about the delays we have communicated since the August 15 storm. Leading up to that day, we thought we were on track to open our new Northern High School on August 28 but we must wait a bit longer. Our delays are the result of unforeseen circumstances. In order to address these matters, we have postponed opening our new school to students and staff until after Labor Day. While we have been confident in the work that has been done to bring our opening to fruition, we've also known that this project, like all construction projects, carries the risk of delays for a number of reasons. Those reasons may include weather, permits, supply availability, ordinances and other factors that change a project's timeline. In the meantime, we will comply with all requirements to ensure that this building provides a safe and secure environment for its students, staff, and visitors. We acknowledge that this is a less than ideal start to the school year, and our desire is to have our Northern students learning in a beautiful new facility befitting of the legacy Northern holds. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, but please know these were unanticipated delays. We are still very excited to welcome our students to this state-of-the-art facility and are doing everything within our power to ensure our doors open to begin this new era for Northern High School."

ABC11 was there Wednesday as workers were making final touches to make sure the building is ready to welcome students for the 2023-24 school year.

Students roamed the hallways picking up paperwork and looking at their classrooms.

"It's very spacious. I love the dance room. I'm going to be in there a lot. I know it," said Sanaa Morman, a senior student.

Durham Public School officials say there are many tasks that were delayed due to weather, supply and demand and following up with ordinances.

Construction crews were working down to the minute to put the final touches on everything moving furniture and finishing up paint jobs. The open house was Tuesday with many students seeing the school for the first time. The older school did not have a football stadium, but this one does.

"We played at the stadium for the past few years. Of course, it's a nice stadium. It gets old having to share it with other people. So to be able to call it our castle and play on is something to show what Northern is all about," said senior student Noah Guerrette.

The new school is certainly something both students and staffers are excited about.

"The technology, the smartboards are touchscreen. I teach Social Studies so I'm excited to use it for an electoral college map," said teacher Lindsey Lester.

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the new Northern High School, a $90 million, 200,000-square-foot project with many modern amenities.