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Delays persist in stabilizing Fox; Richmond still hasn't received papers from school system

Posted at 5:00 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 17:00:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond city official confirmed Thursday that the city has still not received additional paperwork from Richmond Public Schools (RPS) regarding stabilizing William Fox Elementary School. This comes after a RPS spokesperson said the school district submitted the documentation on Monday, April 11.

More than two months after a devastating fire destroyed the school, the Richmond Fire Department (RFD) said it now needed to access more parts of the building to finish its investigation. RPS said RFD deemed the building structurally unstable in late March, and fire and insurance investigators can't safely go inside the building until it's stabilized.

Fox Elementary fire drone 07.jpg
Aerial photos show the devastation a fire caused at Fox Elementary School in Richmond, Va.

RPS spokesperson Sarah Abubaker said the school district submitted initial papers to the city by March 31 to obtain permits for stabilization.

Following that, the city's planning and development review director, Kevin Vonck, said the city requested additional drawings from RPS immediately to evaluate what is being proposed for stabilization.

Abubaker originally told the CBS 6 Problem Solvers that RPS submitted the additional drawings on April 11. However, Vonck said as of April 14, the city still does not have those requested documents.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers reached out to RPS for a response and have not yet heard back.

Vonck said RPS and its contractor met on-site Thursday and the city anticipated receiving the additional drawings on Friday.

Vonck described the process as complicated and said everyone involved is working cooperatively to get it done quickly.

Once the city receives the additional papers, Vonck said a permit could be approved within one to two weeks.

This comes as several parents in the Fox community have expressed frustration over delays in the fire investigation and stabilization of the building. They've also said they're concerned about mold continuing to grow in the building since it's not covered.

Abubaker said RPS plans to install a temporary roof over Fox as soon as stabilization is complete and then address mold issues.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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