RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – William Fox Elementary students may not be able to move into Clark Springs Elementary as soon as planned after mold and asbestos were found in the building.
After the fire that devastated Fox Elementary, students were moved temporarily to First Baptist Church. The students were supposed to move into Clark Springs on April 19, but now Richmond Public Schools is scrambling to mitigate the mold situation by then.
“It’s a significant obstacle,” said RPS board member Jonathan Young.
When mother of two Fox Elementary students Becca DuVal heard her kids might have to stay at First Baptist Church for longer than expected, she said she wasn’t surprised.
Young said the mold and roof repairs at Clark Springs Elementary will take more time to take care of than expected.
He added, however, that because of the design of the school, people inside wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to the asbestos found by city officials. He said it may constitute a threat if walls are removed or if other major structural renovations are made, but at this point they’re not expecting that to be necessary.
“We’re going to invest a lot of resources in preparing Clark Springs. Not just pertinent to the mold mitigation, but we have a lot of other work that has already been done and still yet to be done,” Young said.
He wants the students who have already had to deal with the fire at their school and the move to First Baptist Church to not have to deal with any more moves until next school year.
“To be blunt, I anticipate at the end of the day, that the decision probably will air on the side of let’s stay where we’re at, because the reality is, June 24th is right around the corner,” Young told 8News in an interview Monday.
DuVal said there’s a big issue that arises for parents with students staying at First Baptist Church. She said there is no afterschool care because the church already has after school hours for other organizations and community needs, while Clark Springs students wouldn’t have to leave at exactly 2:45 p.m.
“I have friends who very deeply are having to struggle right now. They are not getting a full workday in,” DuVal said.
She said she’s grateful to community partners allowing the students to stay at the church, but hopes the deadline is met to get them into Clark Springs Elementary soon.
“This is our long-term solution,” she said. “This is where we have to start getting used to walking the halls and building our memories and having our attachments built because it’s going to be our home for years to come.”
Young said RPS board member Mariah White has been working on solutions for afterschool care for parents and their students.
He said parents should not be concerned about next school year, and that Fox Elementary students should, at a minimum, be able to be at Clark Springs Elementary in the fall.