RICHMOND, Va. -- School and city officials, plus a few students and the principal, gathered outside of the burnt-out Fox Elementary School Tuesday morning to mark what they said is the official start of the rebuilding process as construction crews began installing trusses and the roof on the structure.
"This is just one beam going up today. But, this will be a beam of light in a couple of years," 2nd District School Board Representative Mariah White said.
The step comes 15 months after a fire destroyed the school.
"Even in that terrible, terrible hour. I never doubted that we were going to get kids back in this school because this community was not going to quit. We were going to find a way and that's what we're seeing today," 2nd District Councilmember Katherine Jordan said.
The school's principal added the moment comes on the anniversary that showed just how tumultuous the fire was to the school community.
We moved into Clark Springs Elementary this week, a year ago. So this is just kind of the icing on top," Principal Daniela Jacobs said.
Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras said the division was no longer short money needed for the rebuild after Richmond City Council approved $15 million for Fox in the budget passed Monday night.
Officials said they are still aiming to reopen Fox's doors in fall 2025, but several steps remain -- including finishing the roof work.
"It won't be finalized until all of the renovation is finalized. We just want to get to a place where the building is weatherized and we're keeping out all of the elements. And then at pretty much in July, likely, we would post a solicitation for general contractors to bid on the project," said RPS Chief Operating Officer Dana Fox.
Officials added when the crane being used for the roof work has finished and is taken off the property, they will be able to reopen Fox's park and playground. That is expected to be near the end of May.
Meanwhile, this Saturday the Fox Elementary Parent Teacher Association is hosting its annual Strawberry Street Festival to benefit the school. It is happening from 12-4 p.m. at Clark Springs Elementary.
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