'This is exciting': Durham's new Northern High School almost ready to welcome students

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, August 3, 2023
'This is exciting': New Northern High School almost ready for students
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Workers are putting the finishing touches on the new Northern High School, a $90 million, 200,000-square-foot project with many modern amenities.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The new Northern High School is almost ready to welcome back students. It's a $90 million project that's more than 200,000 square feet and includes 82 classrooms, and common areas.

"This is exciting. As you see, the grandness of this. The pride in the Northern Knights to have a true new home," said Fredrick Davis, senior executive director of building services for Durham Public Schools. "It's really like a small community college. We know students learn with diverse abilities now. We made sure designs capture many facets of student education."

Davis walked ABC11 through the halls of the new facility. It includes a multipurpose space that serves as a cafeteria during school hours, and a media center constructed to meet students' learning needs. Even the mock-up floor plan of how this room will look is still on the walls.

Davis is a proud DPS graduate and architect. One of the first spaces he showed us was the bakery and culinary arts classroom.

"You can look in and see the students in just three weeks cooking some delicious and nutritious meals," said Davis. "We put a special emphasis on our culinary arts department here, which is an award-winning program.

The new location is just two miles up the road from the old Northern High School. Officials have not yet said what they want to do with the space. Teachers such as Lauren Casteen see the excitement building among her peers.

"Really excited to not worry about the facility and get down to the meat of teaching," she said.

The new school comes with an outdoor football stadium. It's something the old school didn't have.

The district has also worked with NCDOT to add sidewalks, crosswalks, and two stoplights to ensure student safety. It's still an active construction site with workers working around the clock. DPS staffers told ABC11 that construction will be complete by the first day of school, which is Aug. 28.

"Our kids are great. Our faculty is already great. I'm excited to see how much greater they can be with this environment and tools," said Casteen.