RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras and members of the school board and city council presented keys to the principals of Cardinal Elementay, Henry Marsh Elementary and River City Middle schools. The keys were presented following a tour of the newly built Cardinal Elementary School.
According to a press release from the mayor’s office, funding for the three new schools was made possible by the 1.5% increase in meals tax implemented by the Stoney administration. The meals tax increased passed Richmond City Council with seven votes in 2018. Stoney thanked the community for eating at local restaurants at the event.
“This is a community investment,” Stoney said. “And it represents our shared belief that no matter their zip code, family income, race, religion, gender identity, ethnicity, first language or learning style, every single student in RPS deserves the same opportunity to learn in a healthy, safe environment.”
RPS is starting this school year off virtually but once they return to in-person learning the buildings will provide space for 3,250 students in the Southside and East End. According the to the release, $146 million went towards building the schools. All three of the new buildings are LEED certified.
River City Middle school can hold 1,500 students, Cardinal Elementary can hold 1,000 and Henry Marsh Elementary can hold 750.
The new schools have unique features such as classrooms specialized for project-based learning, art, music and science. Cardinal will feature a speech room, calm down room and computer lab. Henry Marsh will have a laboratory, auditorium, dance studio and gymnasium with two basketball courts. River City will have exceptional education classrooms, a computer lab, day treatment and reflection rooms.
At the event Stoney thanked the contractors and subcontractors who continued to work on completing the schools despite the pandemic.
Stoney emphasized that in the context of this summer’s civil unrest and his decision to remove the confederate monuments that these schools represent progress for Black and brown Richmonders.
“I am very proud we had the courage to take down the monuments to the confederate cause, but I am even prouder of what we have built here today,” Stoney said. “We have built a brighter future for our children.”
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