RPS School Board has 45 days to decide on partnership with city leaders on construction of George Wythe High School

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- Mayor Levar Stoney is calling on Richmond Public Schools school board members to partner with the city—as Richmond will issue a request for design proposals Thursday for the construction of a new George Wythe High School.

The procurement team will release a proposal request for the design services.

The school board has up to 45 days to decide if they’ll partner with the city on the project and submit a list of professional designing firms.

“We were prepared to release the RFP for design services in late April but the school board’s vote on April 12 derailed our efforts to issue the RFP,” Stoney said.

The school board decided to take lead on the project back in April. Superintendent Jason Kamras said establishing the board’s own procurement and construction management team will allow them to issue a request for proposal (RFP) by 2022 and complete construction by 2027.

Stoney said that timeline is unacceptable.

“Over the past few months the community has spoken up,” the mayor said. “No, they’ve shouted that RPS school board shouldn’t delay the construction of a new George Wythe High School.”

School board member Jonathan Young, who represents the fourth district, said he understands the mayor’s sentiment for urgency. However, he has some concerns that need to be addressed before he can move forward with the mayor’s deadline.

“We need to first determine what’s the size of that building, what’s the programming, will we close and consolidate space and if not what are the implications for this new George Wythe,” Young said.

He said the school district already has more space than students.

“The 145 million dollar estimate assumes that we will erect a 2,000-student George Wythe, but the truth is we don’t even have 1,500 students at the current building,” the school board member said.

Young says he hopes the board will open a new George Wythe high school by 2024, but wants to follow the proper order.

School alumnus China McCann said she thinks a brand new George Wythe would encourage students.

“Kids don’t care because we felt like, if they don’t care about us to get a new school, why should we care about learning anything,” McCann said.

Sandra Valentine told 8News that the school was dated and needed repair twenty years ago when she was a substitute teacher there.

“I think that it should be built properly. So, it may take more time. I don’t think they should put a time factor on it,” she said.

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