School Board to pick which schools to rebuild in Richmond

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After a week of code red alerts, Richmond's Huguenot high school is back in the news, this time because it may be re-built.

Mayor Dwight Jones is urging the school board to start with Huguenot high school as it votes to build new schools. A school board work session on the topic is being held Thursday evening.

This is the first time in a decade new schools will be built in Richmond. The city has already set aside $150 million.

Richmond school buses could soon be dropping off children at brand new buildings.

"We're going to be build some new schools. Ground is going to be broken sometime soon here in the next few years," said 7th district school board member Don Coleman.

Now it's time for tough choices. Which schools go first?

Schools like George Mason elementary and Martin Luther King middle were already on a priority list created in 2007, but Huguenot high school just got bumped up with a new push from the mayor.

"I visited Huguenot high school and saw the deplorable conditions there," Jones said.

The mayor has made the case to the school board that a high school on the Southside should come first. Huguenot was built in 1961 and would cost about $81 million to replace.

The rest of the money would be for two new elementary schools and a middle school determined by the board.

"Whatever the sequence is we need to put some dirt in the ground and start building some schools," he said.

Jones campaigned on the promise he would get schools built. Coleman says it's time to move dirt.

"This is why we get elected. We're going to have to make decisions. We really want to hear from the public. I hope people watching this day recognize. Call your school board member. And let them know your perspective," Coleman said.

Another work session is scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m. No final decisions have been made.

The school board could take a vote on which schools to build at its November 16 meeting. If that happens the first construction could begin early next year.

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