Wednesday, January 2, 2013

City Opens Two New Elementary Schools

Two new elementary schools opened today in the city of Richmond.  School children returning from winter break at Oak Grove–Bellemeade and Broad Rock Elementary Schools began classes in new facilities today with river and forest themes, outdoor learning spaces and community wings; to name a few amenities.

“There are no schools like these in the city of Richmond,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “It was very exciting to open these two schools today and to see the look on the children’s faces as they entered their new classrooms.”

Mayor Jones held a ribbon cutting ceremony along with members of Richmond City Council and Richmond Public Schools Board.  A brief tour of each school was taken before the student bodies were addressed in each school’s Commons area.

Oak Grove–Bellemeade is a 91,000 square foot facility with campus construction costs of $20,689,189; and Broad Rock is a 94,136 square foot facility with construction costs of $19,882,309. There is wireless technology throughout each school, dedicated small group learning spaces, and shared use design concepts. The schools also have extensive day lighting to improve classroom environments and reduce energy consumption. Broad Rock has dedicated community space, including a health facility which can be utilized during school hours. At Oak Grove–Bellemeade, the campus combines the new elementary school with an expanded and renovated Parks & Recreation Community Center that will offer a full array of services and benefits to the local community. The Bellemeade Community Center is undergoing final preparations and will include a new fitness center, a fully enclosed pool area and realignment of sports fields with new sports lighting.

 “These new schools afford our students the opportunity to experience wonderful learning environments that are equipped with 21st century technology that will further promote student achievement and help our children to continue to excel. These schools are citadels of hope for the students, the families and the communities they serve,” said Richmond Public School Superintendent, Dr. Yvonne Brandon.

VMDO Architects was the design firm on the project and the construction firm was Martin Brothers Contractors. Input from the faculty, administration and the local community played an integral part in the design process. Mayor Jones thanked everyone for their “forward-looking vision” for the new schools.

“These schools will better position the school district to meet the educational needs of students,” said Mayor Jones. “None of this would have been possible without the City Council and the School Board all working together or without the help of the people of these communities.”