Chesterfield struggles with plans to replace aging school

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County is facing a number of challenges as it looks to replace a nearly 90-year-old elementary school.

Enon Elementary School was built in 1928 and hasn’t been renovated since the 1980s. While the building has deteriorated, the community surrounding it has only gotten stronger.

“It’s like a small community. Everybody knows everybody, it’s a great school, it’s very personable,” said Enon Elementary parent Ida Edens.

Edens, like many parents, in the community say they love the school and would hate to see it relocated.

“I’d love for it to stay there,” said Edens.

“That’s our focus right now is figuring out a way to keep Enon Elementary in its current location,” said school board chair Carrie Coyner.

Coyner says part of the problem is the amount of land where the school currently sits; it’s under 10 acres. Chesterfield’s comprehensive plan recommends elementary schools be on 30 acres. Coyner says on top of building a new school at the current site, they’d have to try and buy surrounding homes and churches. Coyner says they’re on schedule to come up with options and says something will have to be done sooner than later as the current building is falling apart.

“Leaking and floors that are starting to get soft, it’s an old building,” said Coyner.

The other option is finding a new location that still caters to the neighborhoods that are currently served, but there aren’t many sites that fit the bill.

“We want our elementary schools to feel like they’re part of a neighborhood, part of that smaller knit community so there aren’t a whole lot of other locations,” said Coyner.

Still, some parents say it’s the community that makes the school, not the location.

“I wouldn’t want it to go anywhere else but if we have to it’s still going to be the same people,” said Edens.

Officials say once engineers come up with possible plans for the current site, they’ll schedule a community meeting to try and figure out where to go from there. They say that should happen within the next two months.

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