The former Highland Springs HS will become a community center

HENRICO Co., Va. (WWBT) — Some students have already started classes at the old Highland Springs High School, but the school division has bigger plans for the 70-year-old facility.

Headteachers like Adrienne Cole Johnson say the aim is to be innovative by using the building that once housed hundreds of students and turning it into a community center that will be open three to four days a week to the public .

“We are still a bit in renovation mode. We are continuing to re-carpet and do some touch-ups,” said Family and Community Engagement Manager Adrienne Cole-Johnson.

Cole-Johnson says they are renaming the building as the Oak Avenue complex.

“It’s a really exciting project, and I think there’s room for so many people to get involved,” Cole-Johnson said.

She says her goal will help connect students and families to community services.

“The better we can work to streamline services for students, families and the community, the easier it is for them to access learning,” said Cole Johnson.

Cole-Johnson says the building will continue to serve high school students and the after-school enrichment program, but will soon provide health care, mental health services and a food pantry.

“As a parent, having to go to three or four different appointments, what’s it like to have a one-stop-shop to provide those supports,” Cole-Johnson said.

She says this project is a work in progress and they are applying for federal grants to help them.

“It really takes a village to make a difference. We are really looking to lean on the village to meet the needs,” said Cole-Johnson.

She says no plans have been finalized yet, but they hope to have a smooth opening by late fall or early winter.

Jill E. Washington