Hopewell High Shows off Renovations at Open House
By Caitlin Davis
Oct 1, 2012, 13:42
photo by Caitin Davis Ronald Caricofe, former school board member, took a look inside the newly renovated Hopewell High School on Sunday afternoon, including the kitchen. Caricofe noted the kitchen looked like one that you would see on television.
Past graduates, members of City Council and curious residents of Hopewell roamed the halls of the High School on Sunday afternoon to take a peek at the fruits of $24 million worth of renovations.
“It is a wonderful turnout,” Dr. Rodney Berry, Principal of Hopewell High School. “Being able to meet former Blue Devils, former teachers, parents...It is a fantastic turnout.”
The school opened it’s doors to give the city a look at the fresh facilities the city’s students will be learning in each day.
Berry said his favorite part of the renovations is the gymnasium.
“It is more welcoming and inviting,” Berry said.
Guests walked up and down the halls, looking at the newly refurbished classrooms, gymnasium and the cafeteria. David Fratarcangelo, Hopewell’s new City Attorney, was admiring the newly painted hallways and floor tiles.
“It’s been so long since I’ve been in here,” Fratarcangelo said. “They definitely did something good.”
Fratarcangelo, like Berry, cited the gymnasium as his favorite part of the renovations.
Clint Strong, former City Manager, and his wife, Dorothy Strong, stood in the gym and looked around at the new construction.
“It’s beautiful,” Strong said. He said that he remembers the gym being too small to host matches against other schools and is glad to see the change in space that will allow the school to participate in more sports activities.
Although he liked the gym, Strong’s favorite part of the renovations is the barber shop, where he joking wondered if they offer adult lessons.
Strong recalled discussing renovations during his tenure as City Manager over 15 years ago. Even though it took years, he said it was worth the wait.
“If it is worth doing, it is worth waiting for,” he said.
Ronald Caricofe, who served on the school board for 26 years, 18 of those as chairman, was pleased to see that the renovations come to life.
“It’s very impressive to see the results of the Hopewell High School construction process,” Caricofe said. “It has improved all instruction and vocational and sports areas of the school.”
Caricofe recalls being on the school board through the construction discussions, the bid process and the completion of securing funding.
He said the renovations were a team effort between the city and the school board.
“There were many hours of discussion between the two bodies,” Caricofe said. “It was the best improvement we could make...[the school board] are very indebted to the City Council for their support.”
Caricofe said the school looks better and is better equipped to fulfill its main mission, instructing students.
“It will allow every student to have the opportunity to prep themselves for the future,” Caricofe said. “The improvements that were made to the high school are not only for the students of today, but for the students of the future.”
photo by Caitlin Davis Janel English, accountant for Hopewell Public Schools, and her daughter Kristen English, eighth grader at Cater G. Woodson, looked through what could be her classroom next year.
Caricofe was especially impressed by the new kitchen, which reminded him of a professional kitchen like those seen on television.
Dr. John Fahey, Superintendent of Hopewell Public Schools, stood at the entrance to the school, greeting guests.
“It’s been a great opportunity to meet veteran Hopewell High students,” Fahey said. “It’s been a nostalgic moment for them to go through the school and see where their classes used to be and their lockers, many of them saying the kids are so lucky to have this.”
Fahey said his favorite part of the renovation is the overall feeling of change in the building.
“The overall feeling of the school, from the former to the new building,” Fahey said. “It’s an overall effect.”