Oliver Stephan is a 17 year old who enjoys biking, has a knack for algebra, and recently studied cell biology with a local college graduate. He also has a non-speaking form of autism, so he communicates in other ways – he spoke to The Citizen by pointing out letters on a board to spell out sentences.
Harrisonburg’s new high school will be built with an eye toward providing a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), while the existing high school will emphasize fine arts, school officials announced Tuesday.
The new high school’s appearance, function and feel are starting to take shape in meetings of the school board-appointed design committee. But other questions — such as how students will be divided between the two schools and whether each will offer the same programs — have ignited public debate, including at a public meeting May 23 and on Facebook.
The city school board will collect community input to help guide the design for the new high school — as well as how it will be set up and operated in conjunction with Harrisonburg High School — including through a public meeting Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Thomas Harrison Middle School auditorium.
Harrisonburg is one step closer to building the second high school, as the school board voted unanimously on Tuesday night to seek city council’s approval to develop an interim agreement with Nielsen Builders, Inc.