RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras revealed his preference on Thursday for William Fox Elementary to be renovated rather than demolished and rebuilt.
Kamras made his case heard to the Richmond City Council’s Education and Human Services Standing Committee as part of a presentation regarding the 2023 budget and Fox’s repair costs.
In his presentation, Kamras described two possible paths for Fox Elementary.
- Path one: “Demolition to pave the way for reconstruction”
- Path two: “Stabilization for renovation”
The Richmond Public School Board will discuss the two options at the board’s next meeting.
“Once that decision is made, our insurer will work with an engineer to create a stabilization plan for the structure,” Kamras said. “Once that is accepted and approved by the city, and the city gives us the relevant building permits, we can then go ahead, do the stabilization work to the brick facade and also then do — now that it will be safe — asbestos abatement and debris removal, paving the way for an ultimate renovation of the site.”
It was noted in Council’s Education & Human Services Committee Meeting that historic tax credits could be involved and help save up to 25% of the project cost.
Second District School Board Member Mariah White and Second District Councilor Katherine Jordan expressed their shared support for moving forward with the renovation.
“The overwhelming desire of my district and the Fox community past, current, and future is to see Fox renovated, not demolished, so this is extremely welcomed news,” White said.
“I hope [the School Board] will call a special meeting as soon as possible so action can move forward,” Councilor Jordan said.
“Tomorrow marks one month since the fire, and every additional day further compromises the structure, increases project costs, and extends the emotional toll on families and neighbors.”