Durham Public Schools delays opening of new Northern High. What students should know

Durham Public Schools has delayed the opening of the new Northern High School until Thursday, Aug. 31, the district announced Wednesday evening, blaming the delay on last week’s storm.

The school on Roxboro Road had been scheduled to open to students with the rest of DPS’s traditional-calendar schools on Monday.

The school’s open house will now be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, the district said in a news release.

DPS has received a limited certificate of occupancy that lets only 10 employees in the building at a time to prepare their classrooms. Staff will work this Saturday.

The district said construction requirements allow limited access to the building. The district’s year-round and specialty high schools were closed for two days after they lost power.

“A school building project subsists on timelines,” Fred Davis, senior executive director of Building Services, said in the release. “When a project is this close to opening, completing the final tedious tasks require every minute leading up to occupancy,”

The new roughly $90 million school is just two miles up the road from the old Northern High School, ABC11, The News & Observer’s news partner, noted. The district has not said what it wants to do with the old school’s space.

Principal Danny Gilfort and Northern teachers are communicating with students and their families.

“Our excitement hasn’t waned,” Gilfort said in the release. “We’re eager to start the new year with our Northern Knights, and anticipate walking the new halls together.”

About the new Northern High

The old Northern High School, built in 1953, was renovated 11 times between 1954 and 1994, according to the school district.

The new Northern High School is a three-story, 290,000-square-foot building at 4622 N. Roxboro Road.

It has 85 teaching spaces. Arts spaces include visual art, band, chorus, dance, drama, and technical theater. Career and Technical Education spaces include two culinary arts kitchens, a baking lab, ROTC, EMT, fire and public safety programs, automotive repair, animal science and horticulture programs with an outdoor paddock and greenhouse,

It has an 800-seat auditorium, a 1,400-seat gymnasium and a 2,500-seat outdoor stadium.

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