A rare look inside work to rebuild Richmond’s Fox Elementary School
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s our first look inside the charred remains of William F. Fox Elementary School and at the work that’s beginning to rebuild it.
“We are working very, very hard, and whether you see a lot of things happening when you drive by, that doesn’t mean the work is not happening in the background,” said Dana Fox, RPS chief operating officer.
Superintendent Jason Kamras and Fox took NBC12 on a rare tour of what’s left of the school. We looked at the library, classrooms and the auditorium, among other areas.
“Over time now, I’m seeing how much better the building is getting, and as you look at it it can look scary right now, but it looks leagues beyond what it did. The amount of debris that was in this building, the amount of water, of mold, and all of the things that we’ve been cleaning up, and folks have had to clean it up by hand. There was no big equipment that came in and just shoveled it out,” said Fox.
School leaders even pointed out where they say the fire broke out right in the center of the structure. It’s visible by how charred the wood remains are in the area.
That inferno burned so hot that multiple floors collapsed onto the lobby, and the iconic cupola that sat atop Fox Elementary came crashing down.
“There’s so much love and joy attached to this building, and as difficult as it is, I’m just excited about the rebuild and the opportunity to create new memories, new joy, new love here on Hanover Avenue,” said Kamras.
Currently, crews are doing final brick support work ahead of large roof trusses arriving. Those should be hoisted into place by a crane in early April.
A new roof will complete stabilization and weatherization efforts. Then work on the inside can start.
“We are 100% committed to rebuilding this structure here on Hanover Avenue. I want to make sure that’s absolutely clear for everybody to hear,” said Kamras.
It will cost about $25 million to rebuild Fox, and the superintendent says they are still in talks with the insurance company over how much will be covered.
Kamras says the division will have access to $200 million for school construction on July 1 and can use that to cover what insurance doesn’t. Most of that money is supposed to go toward constructing a new George Wythe High School.
The hope is to reopen Fox Elementary either at the end of 2025 or early 2026, barring any complications.
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