Residents discuss need for new East End high school

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Frustration is mounting in an area that has seen consistent growth but no new high school in fifty years. Monday night, Henrico County leaders will explain the budget picture as residents in the East End continue to advocate for a new high school.

"We talk about education, how important it is. Well where are the schools?" asked East End resident James Harris.

He and his wife Julia have four grandchildren in Henrico schools. The eldest, Kiyona is just about to graduate from Varina. Going to school in a brand new classroom is obviously no longer an option for the 17-year old.

"It's like a distraction. A new environment, everything is clean and you feel like, I could breathe in this school. I could learn more. But if it looks old and rundown, it just feels different," she said.

That feeling isn't going to go away anytime soon. Last year, the school board voted to use stimulus dollars to fund the planning for the new high school. Varina district representative John Montgomery told us, large scale construction projects are funded through bond referenda and there's no timeline on a new one to pay for actual groundbreaking for that facility.

New subdivisions are popping up all over the East End,

"If it's crowded now, what is it going to be like in one, two, three years?" asked Julia Harris.

Kiyona's thoughts also turned to the future. Her siblings are now in elementary school.

"If the school looks rundown now, imagine when my brother and sister get older. It's going to look way worse," she said.

Montgomery also said renovations to Varina High School were funded in the last bond referendum. The school board is anticipating moving forward with that project when the money becomes available in July.

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