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BureauOfBureaucrats t1_j699uz1 wrote

> was an unthinkable fire

Can we really call it “unthinkable” when the fire was entirely preventable if not for Richmond’s gross incompetence?


Professional_Book912 t1_j69o797 wrote

But they checked whole building, twice, with thermal gear. In the building with known issues.


We need solid leadership here.


*edit: spelling


turtle_stank t1_j69t0rv wrote

It's not the fire department's fault that Richmond Public School was negligent in maintaining their fire alarm system


Asterion7 t1_j6a228a wrote

But didn't the fire department get an alarm and show up before the structure was engulfed in flames? And left? Am I remembering that right. Seems like it's not all on RPS at that point.


turtle_stank t1_j6a540a wrote

They got a call from someone walking by and did the best they could with the information they had


Professional_Book912 t1_j6nglcq wrote

They lied. They said they checked the building twice and found nothing. The camera shows them upstairs for under 3 minutes. There is no way, in the entire 11 minutes they were in the building, they checked it twice, with thermal gear.

They did not do their best, and the video shows them just milling about. They jimmied the lock because they were worried about the fire alarm, but then did not check the building. Not saying schools bares no blame.


fusion260 t1_j6b3ign wrote

And then the school burnt to a crisp moments later.


foxypucc11 t1_j69gzah wrote

Take emotions out. Take the "community" out..... doesn't the school district need a new elementary school? Like you lost a functioning piece of your organization. Your just not going to replace it? Is the excavation of the current site that much more expensive than clearing some other potential site? Or are they just going to continue to stuff kids in other schools?


Vegetable_Macaroon32 t1_j69jbxl wrote

I think it would make sense to tear down what little is left of the school and replace it with an up to date up to code modern facility. I think this would best serve the kids and teachers. But the Fan isnt a neighborhood so much as it is Historic Williamsburg type theme park for the very wealthy. And gosh do they like their old and quaint. So grab some popcorn or maybe a lot, and watch the incredible shit show of trying to build a modern facility inside that brick husk that remains, and which by the way is ugly.


Danger-Moose t1_j69up5c wrote

The love for Fox, the building, has always seemed crazy to me. It was a building. Yes, it sucks that it burnt down - but I've never understood the desire to salvage what is left of it if you could build a brand new, state of the art building for cheaper.


Asterion7 t1_j69yp54 wrote

I get it a little bit. Modern schools look more like prisons then a place you would take pride in.


Danger-Moose t1_j69z1x0 wrote

Then pay a little more to engage an architect and get community involvement or something. I just don't get the need to have exactly what was there back again. It's just a building.


Asterion7 t1_j6a28iz wrote

I think the local community is involved and they want it to look like the old fox.


Danger-Moose t1_j6a2kur wrote

I find it difficult to believe that it wouldn't be cheaper to knock the remains down and build back the exact same school, then.


Loose-Violinist-1103 t1_j6aflmz wrote

They can’t do this. They could tear it down and sell the land, but they’d need to meet all current city and VDOE reqs for things like parking and outdoor space. Quick glance here says elementary schools need a minimum of 5 acres. Fox has 2.9


bozatwork t1_j69vc27 wrote

The building will meet modern codes when rebuilt, which obviously is the law but I guess it has to be explained. The debris has been cleared, asbestos abated, lead paint checked, walls stabilized, permanent roof construction to be complete by end of April, and then the general building with a new interior layout. It's not a shit show at all in terms of rebuilding process and end result, but it is very unfortunate the private insurance pool of state buildings has become such an issue. And that Richmond taxpayers also seem to think this is some kind of entertainment deserving of popcorn instead of serious engagement and advocacy.


Vegetable_Macaroon32 t1_j6a8282 wrote

No. No, it doesn't need to be explained. We all know the new structure must meet modern codes. My point is that doing that inside an antiquated burnt out hulk may prove more challenging, expensive and lengthy than simply razing the ruin that is there now and starting fresh, in order ( as i said , in all seriousness) to better serve the educators and students who deserve a great school, in the near future. As a city tax payer whose home assessment nearly doubled in the last two years, i take the matter seriously and was offering a serious opinion , as a contractor who has worked on old homes in the area for decades, this will probably be an expensive shit show , all to save a building that has always been ugly , just to placate the gentrified gentry who don't want anything to change in the fan, ever. Take that, you scold!


bozatwork t1_j6b11is wrote

Your opinion on the building's appearance doesn't make it fact. And demolition in the Fan is not allowed by right. Plus the building has been recognized for its historic value and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The City wants the building saved and rebuilt.

You're welcome to your opinion on Williamsburg, but the Fan is not a manufactured tourist experience. And yes the expense of this project has already been estimated and the needs pretty well detailed, ready for construction RFP in the coming months.

But really I don't understand what seems to be your underlying point. If it's that the Fan is full of rich people, then do you think they would send their kids to city public school, especially after their preferred one burned to the ground? They wouldn't, or if they did, they would leave after the fire. I don't think you're that serious in your argument, but you do seem to be seriously biased. The Fox community is as diverse as Cary and serves a significant economically disadvantaged population. The people with means (either in free time, or funds, or skills) in the community have always invested effort to ensure standards are met for all, and lifted all families up. It's that spirit of community that makes Fox unique.


sleevieb t1_j6c06n5 wrote

Fox represents the re segregation of schools and is one of if not the wealthiest school in rps.

It’s reconstruction at no cost and as fast as possible is symbolic of the cities unequal treatment of its residents.


Vegetable_Macaroon32 t1_j6fpv7v wrote

I agree, that's why y'all need a nice new school pronto to keep up the good work!


Vegetable_Macaroon32 t1_j6fqi0q wrote

While the fan is not manufactured to the extent of a literal tourist attraction, very strict historic preservation rules and monies interests have effectively frozen the neighborhood in time, there is a case to be made that this is not a long term healthy condition for urban areas which historically are very dynamic.


sevenbee t1_j6go2ga wrote

Almost all of the Fan has no historic preservation rules, what are you talking about. There only areas which there are actual rules are parts of Grace, Park and Monument. Everywhere else… go nuts.


sleevieb t1_j6c0cxw wrote

The popcorn is to watch people spin up cognitive dissonance using things like historic preservation to defend segregation.


bozatwork t1_j6fv224 wrote

I am about to use some not-nice language if you continue trying to assert that the Fox community is somehow racist or acting in racist manners. I'm sorry that you seem to believe urban legends from decades ago. Fox has been diverse and embraced the last round of school rezoning and used the process to benefit RPS as a whole. 44% of the school population is economically disadvantaged. Go compare the school populations pre/post rezoning and get back to me on which areas are segregated and who's actively working to protect monied interests.


sleevieb t1_j6g17sv wrote

Where did you get 44% from?


sleevieb t1_j6g449c wrote

I found this during my own search, I don’t see any demographic info on here including for economically disadvantaged.


bozatwork t1_j6g5vo4 wrote

But you saw 47% white? It's right below that demo chart. Click on "economically disadvantaged."


sleevieb t1_j6gfawj wrote

I didn’t see or say 47% white.

Clicking on economically disadvantaged brings up a bar graph for different 3 years of academic achievement.


theb0tman t1_j69rg8e wrote

This. Take a walk through Windsor irl or Zillow and get back to us. During some of the housing peak zaniness places were going for like 50% over asking.


Professional_Book912 t1_j69okg5 wrote

Very wealthy? That neighborhood is, at best, upper middle class. Wealthy is Windor Farms, Very wealthy isn't in the the city. They live in the surrounding counties.


Vegetable_Macaroon32 t1_j69sra3 wrote

Houses there are going in the high 8s to low 9s. As in 880,000 to 925,000 There are more modest folks there who bought years ago, but anyone who has bought in the last few years is doing pretty well I would say, or has sold property in a more expensive market, which is the same thing.


Sailinger t1_j696sj9 wrote

> "I'm not going to tell your listeners anything they don't already know because of your terrific reporting."

Oh FFS, Jonathan Young is insufferable!


RVAnus t1_j69jdrt wrote

I don't agree with everything Jonathan Young does but he's absolutely correct here. If it wasn't for outside reporting the public wouldn't know the specific negligence of RPS facilities that led to the insurance company denying the claim.

It's not Young's fault RPS facilities Bobby Hathaway ignored the requests of his staff to fix the alarm issue and hung up on the deputy fire marshal who was trying to get a resolution.

All of that was uncovered by the press using FOIAs while RPS just bullshitted and pointed fingers.


Sailinger t1_j69jz73 wrote

Everything you said can be 100% correct and yet Young is still an insufferable ass hat.


RVAnus t1_j6a6qxf wrote

Yeah but being dismissive of the facts because you don't like the messenger won't help anything.


Danger-Moose t1_j6af8zi wrote

He wasn't being dismissive of anything except the messenger.


55V35lM t1_j6a6ew3 wrote

Where are Fox students currently going to school - in an unused school that is close to where Fox was. What’s the cost/benefit of upgrading Clark Springs and turning the Fox land into tax generating real estate and plus the potential initial revenue from selling the land to developers versus rebuilding Fox and selling off Clark Springs? I don’t suspect it’s close but would like to see this assessed in a practical matter.


Loose-Violinist-1103 t1_j6aj6ei wrote

If they sell Clark springs (which was proposed July 2021) they won’t have a place for students to go for the next crisis. It’s been used as a flex space for multiple schools when their facilities have failed. In the last 5 years it’s housed students from… I want to say George Mason Elementary? When they had a gas leak. And when a southside middle school closed for mold the kids went there. We can sadly expect more failed facilities as these schools are rapidly decaying with so little $ assigned to fix them each year. Statewide problem ($26.5B need) that’s hitting RPS first because it has a disproportionate number of 50-100 year old properties.


55V35lM t1_j6akacm wrote

*it has a disproportionate amount of old and failing schools because it been mismanaged for a disproportionate amount of time. They have the old middle school on Forrest Hill that they could also use for flex space.


Loose-Violinist-1103 t1_j6akz0i wrote

The one condemned for mold? That sent those kids to Clark springs in the first place? I’m not going to pretend like I’m at all impressed with the rps maintenance/facilities dept now or over the last ..60? Years. But do read up on the findings from the school modernization committee. We can’t blame RPS for the effects of the Dillon rule.


55V35lM t1_j6ao27f wrote

That was Elkhart Middle on Hull Street that was condemned and the students were combined with Thompson Middle on Forest Hill the following school year after initially going to Clark Springs. Elkhart-Thompson Middle was left vacant when the new River City Middle School was completed. Please understand how RPS’s continued and ongoing mismanagement of it school stock (deferred maintenance and continued use of underutilized schools) has been more significant in recent years than the Dillion rule (thats an excuse at this point - adjust and move forward). The entire reason we’re having this convo is because the system did not maintain their fire alarm systems.


Loose-Violinist-1103 t1_j6apeqn wrote

The Board voted to demolish Elkhardt Thompson (forest hill Ave) in 2020 because its poor condition is “unfit for use.”

90% of the RPS budget is for desperately needed staff. We have $9.5M in CIP funds in the current draft budget. At that rate of annual investment we’ll make it through all $2B of deferred maintenance in 210 years.

That’s not because of a couple of decades worth of a shitty facilities director who should have been fired a long time ago. That’s because school funding is systemically broken and schools have no way to afford their maintenance or replacement.


55V35lM t1_j6atf55 wrote

Which is only impacting RPS which spends the most per student in the region? Skepticism seems warranted.


Loose-Violinist-1103 t1_j6atrx9 wrote

I said this is state wide - most of these schools were build 50 years before our peer in the countries. There’s a $26B statewide need to repair or replace Virginia schools. It’s a current issue in the GA. This isn’t just RPS. Rps is just further in the hole than most. Bristol is rough too.


Loose-Violinist-1103 t1_j6aqmft wrote

And no - were not here because of fire alarms. That was obviously bad - but it didn’t prevent RFD from getting to fox BEFORE it was in flames. They cleared the building and LEFT.

We’re here because there are some 50 schools in RPS and too many of them (fox included) haven’t been retrofitted for sprinklers because that costs about $40k per school and we don’t have that money.


55V35lM t1_j6au6n7 wrote

Ahh, the fire alarm, which should have both notified the RFD and indicated where in the building the alarm was triggered but did neither owing known maintenance issues was not the primary contributing cause but it’s the fault of the nonexistent sprinklers - which would have likely failed anyway due to… lack of maintenance.


Loose-Violinist-1103 t1_j6avruz wrote

Look, blame who you want. I believe the facilities director was negligent. I also believe RPS cannot fix schools with money they don’t have, and cannot raise themselves. Bills to address the systemic problem are making progress at the state level because Rural republicans and urban democrats agree. I won’t be losing sleep because you and I don’t.


55V35lM t1_j6bttis wrote

Well stated - I just don’t trust the those who would allocate such funds to do so efficiently. RPS’s current budget proposed by the superintendent largely goes to paying non-teachers - not teachers or capital improvements.


Loose-Violinist-1103 t1_j6cxw7o wrote

I’m not following. Should there be more money going to teachers or more money to CIP? And what non-teachers should RPS cut? Procedurally, yes, the superintendent drafts the first budget. But it’s very much shaped by board mandates made over the last year like collective bargaining ($24M), and a 30-staff virtual school ($3M). Also expenses that feel like luxuries now - school renamings and tuition to specialty schools.


Freseper t1_j6brp1a wrote

Months before this happened a certain alarm company that was part of this story but no longer exists upgraded the burglar alarm at work. They asked if they could have the remains of the old system because it was still in use in many RPS schools— and basically only there— and the parts were impossible to obtain.


[deleted] t1_j6akety wrote

Am I crazy or was Clark Springs full of mold? I moved before my child was school age, but when I was zoned for Clark Springs I recall the building was close to being condemned....


americanspirit64 t1_j6ddwpv wrote

There is nothing wrong with trying to maintain the general appearance of a neighborhood. It there were no rules in place the entire city would shortly be a 4 over 1, apartment building. The rich deserves good schools not because they are rich but because they are like everyone else only with money. All lower, middle and high schools are part of a non-profit system of education in this country that needs to be support at any cost. Rebuilding the school it to look historic isn't a bad thing, it pays homage to an architectural style that was once considered modern after all. At a time when buildings were built that way based on cheap plentiful materials. Modern architecture hasn't been proven to be any better to the overall health of a child's educational enrichment or enjoyment. It is just a way to crowd more children into a smaller space to achieve bigger class sizes. There is an augment to be made that some buildings are more beautiful than others that is why 'Architecture' begins and ends with a foundation of good design. Designing a space that promotes learning about the humanities as well as science is the best use of space. Most modern architectural schools look like science labs, not libraries, the same way prisons are built, with ugly cinder block walls, not enough windows or bathrooms. Schools should be places where children enjoy being there.


chillbro_baggins91 t1_j6dtglz wrote

Whatever will get rid of those stupid “fox is love” signs all over the fan needs to happen


batkave t1_j6abbiw wrote

Pull some money from police and tax the rich/companies.


Dramatic_Barracuda55 t1_j6ab66f wrote

Richmond needs to learn how to balance its budget like an adult.


Asterion7 t1_j6aet0o wrote

This has nothing to do with a balanced budget.......