Richmond residents marched on Saturday to call for school infrastructure investments. The fire that consumed William Fox Elementary School two weeks ago was the trigger for the march.
The building burnt down because of lack of sprinklers. The authorities couldn’t install the system because of the school’s age. Out of 2000 school buildings in the commonwealth, more than half are over 50 years old.
This Is a Wake-up Call
Event co-organizer and Fox parent Becca DuVal said that this is our wake-up call. The main goal of approximately 100 protesters is to raise awareness about the state of schools. DuVal added that they want to force lawmakers into investing in renovations.
William Fox Elementary School Was Built in 1911
A spokesperson for the RFD stated that the school’s age had prevented the authorities from installing a sprinkler system. What’s worrying is that more schools in the district are of the same age—Swansboro Elementary and Open High being some of them. Fire safety statistics say the risk of property loss is reduced by 70% in structures with sprinkler systems.
More Than Half Of Schools in the Commonwealth Are More Than 50 Years Old
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) 2021 report says that more than 50% of the school buildings in the commonwealth are more than half a century old. Furthermore, out of 2,000 buildings noted in the report, 34 are more than a century old.
As a result, the officials estimate that the total replacement cost would amount to almost $25 billion.