‘It’s exciting’: School leaders provide update on work to rebuild Fox Elementary School

On Tuesday, crews were working to place roof trusses on the 112-year-old building
Work continues to rebuild Fox Elementary after last year's fire.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 10:54 AM EDT|Updated: May. 9, 2023 at 11:34 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As construction crews placed roof trusses on Fox Elementary School, Richmond school leaders gave a progress report on the work to reopen the school after a three-alarm fire gutted the 112-year-old building along Hanover Avenue in Feb. 2022.

On Tuesday morning, Richmond Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Dana Fox gave an update on the renovations on the roof, which is expected to be done by the end of June.


A three-alarm fire in February 2022 gutted the school on Hanover Avenue.

“When the roof is in place, the roof will still look like a temporary roof,” said Fox. “It won’t be finalized until all the renovation is finalized. We just want to get to a place where the building is weatherized and we’re keeping out all the elements.”

Once this is done, Fox said the next steps for the timeline will follow.

“In July, likely, we would post a solicitation for contractors to bid on the project,” she said. “This portion of work is just to weatherize the building. This is going to be the permanent roof, the final roof, but the aesthetic of it is not going to look like shingles this summer. That will happen once the building is completely renovated, but we are on track.”

Crews work on the roof of Fox Elementary School.
Crews work on the roof of Fox Elementary School.(Source;WWBT | WWBT)

A report from the Richmond Fire Investigations Unite from July 2022 showed the blaze was classified as accidental, but investigators couldn’t determine an exact cause and clarify that there is no evidence to support any criminal activity involved.

The estimated cost to rebuild Fox Elementary School is $25 million. Mayor Levar Stoney included $15 million in the city’s budget to help fund the rebuilding project. The school was also insured for about $13 million, which left a potential funding gap.

When asked about the insurance situation and shortfall, Superintendent Jason Kamras replied, “We no longer will have any shortfall.”

As the work to rebuild the school continues, students and staff from Fox Elementary School are thankful for the framework to help reopen the doors.

Roof work is underway on Fox Elementary School in Richmond. Officials provided updates on the...
Roof work is underway on Fox Elementary School in Richmond. Officials provided updates on the school on Tuesday, May 9.(WWBT)

“I can’t wait for it to be rebuilt and and it’s a lovely school,” said Sara Dejnozka, a student who attends Fox Elementary School. “I feel happy and wish that I could walk through the doors right now.”

“We moved into Clark Springs Elementary this week a year ago, so this is just the icing on top,” said Daniela Jacobs, principal of Fox Elementary School.

School leaders also added the renovation project is on track and is expected to be done by Fall 2025.