Report Reveals Millions Needed to Repair Local Schools

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- Schools falling into disrepair; it's part of a growing trend not just in the Valley, but across the commonwealth.

The first step to solving this problem is identifying it.

Which is what a statewide study that Governor Bob McDonnell asked for accomplished by showing just how big of a need there actually is.

Now the problem is that it won't be cheap to fix what's falling apart.

"Are we going to be able to put enough chewing gum on it to keep it going?" asked Staunton School Board Chairman Ron Ramsey.

At his bookstore in Staunton, Ramsey talked about the problems facing R.E. Lee High School.

"The front wing, the heating for that being 50-plus years old, they've actually had to manufacture parts for the system when something has broken down, because that sort of system doesn't exist anymore, it is so out of date," said Ramsey.

Lee isn't the only school. More than half of the schools in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County report they need renovations.

The estimated cost for renovating Elkton Elementary in Rockingham County is nearly $100 million.

According to the study, it would cost almost $42 million to renovate Valley Vocational and Technical Center in Augusta County, $35 million for R.E Lee High School and $30 million for Waynesboro High School.

It's precisely the price tag that Ramsey said is the problem; not just here, but across the commonwealth.

"If you want to prepare students to go out into the world, whether they're going straight into the workforce or to college or some sort of additional education, they've got to be prepared for the world they're going into. So we've got to show them everything that is viable to provide the best education we can," said Ramsey.

This is a problem that likely only will get worse as time goes on.

The study shows more than 60 percent of schools across Virginia are already at least 40 years old.


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