Superintendent calls for blitz to upgrade all RPS bathrooms over break

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said work will begin next week to upgrade bathroom facilities throughout the entire school system after hearing from kids about deficiencies in bathrooms.

"We've got old fixtures, that it's kinda dangerous," Kamras said while pointing to a metal fixture with sharp edges but no purpose on the wall in a girl's bathroom at Woodville Elementary School.  "It's not the most beautiful or inviting place for little kids."

Kamras pointed out non-functioning faucets, and stalls with nowhere for the toilet paper to go but the ground.

"We've got here a stall with no toilet paper holder," Kamras said.

The Woodville bathroom highlights a larger problem within RPS where school bathrooms have not been maintained.

"I think it's 30, 40, 50 years of deferred maintenance," Kamras said.

Binford Middle School before weekend fix

On Friday, Kamras announced an ambitious plan to fix every bathroom by the start of the school year.

"We've already begun the process of analyzing all the bathrooms and figuring out what we need, obviously we have our facilities team, but we're really going to rely on the city for help," Kamras replied.

Kamras said RPS will launch a website later this week where people can sign up to donate time and resources to help.

Binford Middle School after volunteer project

The "bathroom blitz" is a larger version of what parents accomplished at Binford Middle School earlier this year where 75 volunteers upgraded two dilapidated bathrooms.

"It took a lot of parents and community involvement but we did pull off a bathroom renovation in a weekend," RPS parent Heather Crislip said about her daughter's school, Binford Middle School.

Efforts parent Heather Crislip said she hopes leads to something bigger.

"It's going to take a lot more investment to get our facilities to something we're proud of us a community and gives our kids the sense that they're valued," Crislip said.

Kamras said the school system will use some RPS funds to make the upgrades, but they will need donated time labor and supplies to do everything that needs to be done.