Study: 27 schools in Norfolk in ‘poor’ condition

NORFOLK, Va, (WAVY) — A new report shows an immediate need for $124 million to make repairs at the district’s 50 schools.

That’s part of the larger $491 million in repairs the district will have to address in the coming years, according to an assessment by HBA Architecture Interior Design.

Norfolk Public Schools hired HBA in the spring to perform a needs assessment of all their buildings.

In a recent work session, school leaders called the findings “informative,” “shocking” and “sobering.”

“It is something that is a concern and it’s not new,” said Rodney Jordan, school board chairman. “We know we have significant facility needs.”

From the floors, to windows, roofs, HVAC systems and more, the report rated each schools ‘poor,’ ‘fair,’ or ‘good.’

Of the 50 schools, 27 of the buildings received a ‘poor’ rating.

HIGH SCHOOLS: Lake Taylor, Booker T. Washington and Maury High School.

MIDDLE SCHOOLS: Azalea Gardens, Rosemont and Lake Taylor. Northside Middle School is close to being in poor condition.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS: Larrymore, Calcott, Willard, P.B. Young, Ingleside, Jacox, Willoughby, Poplar Halls, Oceanair, Granby, Suburban Park, Sherwood Forest, Norview, Lindenwood, Tidewater Park, St. Helena, Little Creek and Fairlawn Elementary School are all listed in ‘poor’ condition. Chesterfield Academy, Berkeley Early Childhood Center and Easton Preschool also fall into the lowest category.

“This report to me identifies the fact that we have older buildings [and] that we do need to make some decisions about how do we invest, whether it’s new construction or maintenance or rehab,” said Jordan.

To fully replace all of the schools, the study estimates the cost at $1.2 billion.

The district currently receives $2 million annually from the city for building improvements, according to Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone.

The study recommends the city fund the district $16 million annually to address the needed improvements.

“We are going to have to have a conversation with our council and our public about how to go about that,” said Jordan.

The chairman says a new funding formula, which has already been discussed, is needed to increase funding and guarantee the district a certain amount of money.

“We are advocating as a school system and we believe our citizens also want us to have strong, effective, 21st century learning environments for our children.”

There will be a public hearing at the Nov. 29 Norfolk School Board meeting, which is where residents can share what they feel the board should be prioritizing.