Crumbling concrete and modern upgrades are some of the improvements parents, students and teacher would like to see made at Tucker High School and seven other schools across the county.
Funding for the renovations is in the hands of voters, during a bond referendum this election day.
If the vote passes, Tucker High would get a $55 million face lift. The school was built in 1963.
Henrico's school board chair Micky Ogburn says over the years, band aids and temporary fixes were applied to maintenance issues, but not it’s time for a floor-to-ceiling makeover.
“We need to take care of our schools so people will want to live here, relocate here, business will come here,” Ogburn said. “If we keep our schools up to par, the county will grow and benefit from it.”
The most glaring issues of improvement are the building’s infrastructure, such as rain, snow and ice that eat away at the canopy that link the classroom buildings.
Ogburn says Tucker has seen a lot of hard use, and the student population has outgrown the gymnasium.
Renovations would also include energy-efficient doors and windows, replacing old plumbing and brightening up classrooms and hallways with new ceilings and lightning.
“It really is a complete and [totally] new looking school when it’s finished. We’ve got good bones to work with, so we’re excited about the possibility, if the voters approve it,” said Ogburn.
Clocking in at $28.2 million, renovations at Tuckahoe Middle School are the second-most costly of the capital project. Ogburn says the maze of canopies students walk under needs of a major upgrade.
“We had to put wiring for technology and electricity on the outside. We've got conduits in exposed places where you can see it needs to be updated,” Ogburn said.
At the eight county schools slated for improvements, although the facilities are functional, Ogburn say they aren't up to standard, nor meeting the needs of a growing student population, and modern technology.
“It's just not the best it could be for our students, and they deserve the best that we can give them,” said Ogburn.
The school board chair says last year Tuckahoe parents raise safety concerns about the school’s glitchy PA system. That’s when, according to Ogburn, renovating several schools as part of a bond referendum was proposed.
In addition to improvements at Tucker and Tuckahoe, the school board would like to build two new technical centers and an elementary school to meet demand and deal with overcrowding.
This Election Day voters will have the chance to approve the $272 million worth of capital projects for the schools. On the back of the ballot will also be a chance to vote on projects to improve Henrico’s parks, libraries, roads, and fire department.
County officials say assuming the debt to finance the projects will not impact real estate taxes, and some of the cost for the school renovations will be offset by a surplus of money collected from the meals tax.
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