RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The reconstruction of William Fox Elementary School has made major progress over the last year after a fire destroyed the school in February of 2022.
School and city officials gathered Tuesday morning for a press conference to announce the most recent updates for the beloved historic building. Construction crews have been out since Monday putting roof trusses on the school.
“This is just one beam going up, but it will be a beam of light in a couple of years,” Richmond School Board Member Mariah White said.
Those who attended the conference said the new construction is a symbol of progress for the community.
“[It] seems like a long time ago, but also just yesterday we were watching [the school] fully ablaze. And even in that terrible, terrible hour, I never doubted that we were going to get kids back in this school,” City Council Member Katherine Jordan said.
The cause of the blaze was never determined. The community pushed forward over the past year to rebuild the 110-year-old building.
After the City of Richmond passed their budget during Monday’s meeting, the school system will now have $15 million to use toward the project.
School officials hope to have a roof officially in place by the end of June, and have the school reopen for students in Fall 2025.
“This portion of work is just to weatherize the building. This is going to be the permanent roof, the final roof,” Dana Fox, Chief Operating Officer for Richmond Public Schools, said. “But the aesthetic of it is not going to look like shingles this summer, that will happen once the building is completely renovated.”
It has been a long road to getting students back into Fox’s halls, and school staff are reflecting on how far the school as come as they look forward to the rebuilding process.
“One year ago this week, we were moving for the third time after the tragic fire. We moved into Clark Springs Elementary this week a year ago,” Daniela Jacobs, the principal of Fox Elementary School, said. “So, this is just kind of the icing on top.”