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Why RPS wants to repair Fox Elementary instead of rebuilding

Fox Elementary.png
Posted at 4:48 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 18:13:47-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- As the investigation into the fire at Fox Elementary continues, Richmond Public School officials are still finalizing what to do with the remains.

They can either tear it all down or save what they can and renovate. The administration said they would like to move forward with the second option.

"Hopefully renovate Fox back to its former glory on the side of 2300 Hanover Avenue," RPS spokesperson Sarah Abubaker said.

Abubaker said that public input helped guide their decision.

"Overwhelming support for rebuilding Fox from the Fox community and the neighbors who live around the Fox building," Abubaker said.

Sarah Bonkovsky, a former parent of Fox students, is among those who are a fan of the idea.

"I think that there's so many memories connected to that space and it's such an important spot for the neighborhood and for all the kids that go to that school," Bonkovsky said.

Abubaker said the decision was prompted by the building no longer being safe for investigators. The choice of demolishing or renovating would guide how to stabilize the building and allow them back in.

"They are hoping to have those reports done by the end of March so hopefully, we will have an answer as to what caused the fire," Abubaker said.

Abubaker said the school board will have to sign off on the idea. The city council and school board members representing the idea already announced their support.

If approved, they will then stabilize the building and figure out what can be saved.

"From what we can see, the exterior walls are in good condition. But obviously, the roof is completely destroyed," Abubaker said.

Abubaker added that will insurance would cover the entire cost, an added benefit of renovating is they could receive historic tax credits that would cover around 25% of the costs.

"Which is very substantial and could go a long way to making sure that we are getting the most out of a new Fox building," Abubaker said.

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