City and school leaders talk of resuming HHS2 construction

A virtual model of HHS2.
A virtual model of HHS2.(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 3:15 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Harrisonburg’s city and school leaders are hoping to resume construction in the coming months on the Friendly City’s second high school.

The construction was halted back in April when there was much uncertainty about how hard the economy would be hit as the pandemic was just beginning.

“We put it on hold thinking that small businesses and families didn’t need a tax increase,” HCPS Superintendent Dr. Michael Richards said

Richards said the City of Harrisonburg paid $647,888.06 in suspension costs to the HHS2 construction site.

HCPS and the city are now looking to resume construction. When the project was suspended, Richards said they anticipated it would be, at the most, one year, and now as spring approaches, they are trying to get the project moving along again.

Richards said he and City Manager Eric Campbell will take an item to the City School Board Liaison Committee, which includes 2 members from Harrisonburg City Council (Mayor Deanna Reed and Council Member Christopher B. Jones) and the 2 members from the HCPS school board (Kristen Loflin and Nick Swayne) on Feb. 5.

“We’ll talk through some numbers. We’ll talk about where the city is with its revenue projections and its budget and then we’ll look for that ideal point in time this spring when we can start that project back up.”

He said the city is seeing better tax revenues than expected. A projected 25 percent decline turned out to be about a 6 percent decline.

Richards said they are not planning to change the designs for HHS2, which would cost more than $100 million. The goal is to have HHS2 built by the fall of 2023.

Richards said he projects high school enrollment to reach almost 2,000 students this fall. With Harrisonburg High School well over capacity, it has made it very difficult to get more students back in the classroom during the pandemic.

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