RPS recommends facility upgrades for every school in district

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Public Schools has a long list of challenges. Old, broken down buildings tops the list, but a new facilities recommendation could impact nearly every school in the district.

“Every school that remains in the system over the course of 20 years gets a new building, which we’ve identified, or it gets a renovation,” said interim superintendent Tommy Kranz.

Those renovations come with a hefty price tag. The 20-year plan is projected to cost $795,984,631.

“This is a fluid document,” Kranz said. “It will change based on where our population changes are at. It’ll change based on where our needs are and it will change based on what’s the funding that’s available.”

The first phase (years 1-5) addresses the most immediate needs. Both Greene Elementary and George Mason Elementary will be replaced with brand new schools. Elkhardt Thompson Middle School and George Wythe High School will also be replaced.

Woodville, Fairfield and Francis Elementary will all have major renovations.

“All of our students and I mean this, all 24,000 of our students, deserve the same opportunities,” Kranz said. “Which means having access to the same resources as other students do.”

In contrast to other plans, this recommendation doesn’t include school closures, something that’s received backlash in the past.

Instead, they propose some redistricting, specifically in the south side to tackle overcrowding.

“There’s not one tool that by itself addresses all of our situations,” Kranz said. “It’s going to take all of the tools in the toolbox to do it.”

The big question is where this money is coming from.

Kranz said he believes the school board will work with the city to try and find the funding and that this plan can be adjusted once they are told how much money they can receive.

A meeting is scheduled for Thursday for Kranz to answer any questions the school board has.

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