Sale of building could pay for school improvement projects - - Richmond, VA News

Sale of building could pay for school improvement projects

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Richmond Public Schools may soon see some money it needs to make repairs at several schools, if officials sell a piece of property. The news comes as the school board prepares to work through budget negotiations.

The board requested a report when an offer came in to buy the 65,000 sq. ft. Arlington Road warehouse property. The 90-page document places the value at $1.7 million.

"Like many of our buildings it's seen better days," School Board Chairman Jeff Bourne said.

Right now, a company wants to give it a better day, but NBC12 has learned it offered a bit less than the $1.7 million appraisal. If board members want to, they could vote to surplus the warehouse so the city could sell it. Then RPS could put that money toward capital improvement projects.

"That money is used for those sort of one-time hard, fixed cost projects," Bourne explained.

We got our hands on a list of priority projects; so we wanted to know how many the system would possibly be able to check off with this money.

District-wide, RPS would be able to get roof warranty extensions for $400,000. At South Hampton Elementary, $320,000 could be used to replace part of the HVAC system. The list also includes replacing the roof at Westover Hills for $225,000. They'd even be able to do some remediation work to get rid of dampness in several basements like the one at George Mason Elementary in Church Hill. Going through all of those projects adds up to about $1.6 million.

"Anything that deals with the health and safety of our students and employees are obviously clearly the top of the list, those things that if we don't fix they cost us more money," Bourne told us.

At this point, though, this sale that could put those projects in motion is not a done deal.

"It could be very helpful but at the same time one of the things this board expressed is that we want to make sure we are getting the appropriate value and compensation for our buildings," Bourne added.

The school board wants to vote sooner rather than later, as the company which put in the offer to buy the property has been waiting. It is likely members will take up this issue at one of its meetings this month.

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