School construction, Renovation plan approved

By Evrod Cassimy - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It has been a long time coming, nearly two years, but tonight with the support of Mayor Dwight Jones, Richmond City Council members approved the new plan in an 8 to 1 vote. It includes a new high school -- the first to be built in Richmond in 40 years!

Council members discussed why this plan needed to get started right away citing the state of Richmond public schools today. The plan would allow them to skip its normal review to endorse a revised schools master plan that would be topped by a new Huguenot High School.

The new high school would cost 81 million dollars and in addition to it, the plan calls for a new Martin Luther King Middle School in the East End and a new Broad Rock and Oak Grove Elementary School in south Richmond. The total construction cost: about 173 million dollars -- about 20 million more than expected.

While it's uncertain where that money will come from, many people believe it's time the plan was approved.

"If we can find money, and I've seen them find money to build a cultural arts center. I've seen them find money to develop the downtown areas. I've seen them find money to develop our communities and deem historical districts, then we can find money to build our schools because our children have been second on the list for many, many years," said Evette Wilson.

The list of priority schools also has several schools listed as secondaries. This proposal affects thousands of students that attend Richmond public schools.

Mayor Dwight Jones says the city's waited too long to deal with this problem and he's ready to move forward and develop a specific timeline for our schools. The city plans to solicit community input for the design of the new schools. Construction is expected to start sometime next year.

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