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Tour gives leaders glimpse into lingering city school problems

RICHMOND, Va. – A crumbling exterior, peeling paint and problems with the air conditioning system were just some problems a group dubbed Richmond’s Facilities Task Force (FTF) saw Thursday morning as they went inside some Richmond city schools.

“There’s a difference between code and having a really nice facility,” task member and Richmond City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson said.

In addition to schools, the group toured the Adult Career and Development Center (ACDC). The facility is considered, by some, to be in bad shape.

Ceiling fans were installed at ACDC because there is no central air conditioning. However the way the fans were installed, created a hazardous situation as electrical wires run through air ducts.

The fan installation was just one issue that did not sit well with Robertson.

“Issues such as drainage, proper ventilation, heat, air,” she said. “In my opinion, those are code violations.”

Task force member Roderyck Bullock said he wanted to see for himself some of the lingering problems – like exposed pipes – visible during one of the six school tours.

Bullock said he knows there are no quick solutions, but said the stage has been set to make some aging facilities more functional.

“We need to come together and find out what common sense approach we have to better our facility,” Bullock said.

The tour was not full of all bad news. The task force also toured Ginter Park Elementary, an old school considered to be in great condition. The school served as an example on how to modernize other city school buildings.