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Richmond school leaders look into crumbling school conditions

RICHMOND, Va. — Over time some Richmond Public Schools have been falling apart. In order to make some of the necessary repairs, it’s going to cost the district tens of millions.

“Two weeks ago we got briefed by our administration and they told us there’s $35 million in critical facility needs,” Richmond School Board member Kristen Larson said.

On Wednesday members of Richmond’s Facilities Task Force were able to get a birds eye view of the list of long, lingering and pricey problems. Some of which stretch from inside the classroom to inside the boiler room at Bellevue Elementary.

“It’s not that they are going to fail tomorrow but they are at a point where they could fail and it would be very difficult and expensive for us to bring them back up even if we can,” Richmond Assistant Superintendent Thomas Krantz said.

The issues range from problems with leaking roofs at some schools, HVAC concerns, and even an ongoing issue at Binford Middle. A problem school leaders are still working through.

“This is on our list for immediate need, we will show you in the basement we do have some dampness issues down there,” Krantz said.

Richmond School Board member Kristen Larson said the issues are something school leaders are taking responsibility for.

“We are being very forthcoming and transparent with the community,” Larson said.

“When you have a dollar to spend, you have to make sure you spend it wisely and correctly,” Grant Neely with Mayor Dwight Jones’ office said.

For now the task force is keeping every option open on how to better take care of Richmond’s schools and students.

On Wednesday, the group made stops at Bellevue and Reid Elementaries, as well as Bindford and Elkhart Middle Schools.

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