Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mayor Jones and City Officials Open NewlyRenovated and Expanded Bellemeade Community Center

Mayor Dwight C. Jones was joined by Richmond City Council Vice PresidentEllen Robertson, School Board member Shonda Harris–Muhammed, and Dr. Norman Merrifield, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities in cutting the ribbon to reopen the newly renovated and expanded Bellemeade Community Center todayFollowing the ribbon cutting ceremony, Mayor Jones led a brief tour of the center’s new features forattending public and media. The City also hosted a family fun day to celebrate the reopening ofthe community center.

Mayor Jones stated, “Opening this community center today and the adjacent new school which we opened in early January, are clear demonstrations of the City’s commitment of investing inresources to enhance the future of our children. It is very exciting to see the smiles on the children of Bellemeade and the community as a whole, as we toured the new features within and surrounding this wonderful facility.”

Community centers are the place where friendships are made, talents discovered, the abundant of resources shared, teams formed and where the most treasured memories are experienced. Community centers are fundamental to a wholesome quality of neighborhood life.” comments Councilwoman Ellen Robertson.

With the new expansion, the original 16,580 square feet facility is now 28,680 square feet.Facility features include a new fitness center, fully enclosed pool area with pool seating, handicap-accessible chair lift, new coping around pool, energy efficient pool dehumidification unit, realignment of sports fields with new sports lighting, kitchen, new computer workstation counters in community room, expansion of main floor to include a clinic with two exam rooms with private restroom, new elevator, and installation of a fire alarm and security system. Total construction costs were $3.6 million. VMDO Architects was the design firm on the project and the construction firm was Martin Brothers Contractors.

“Through this wonderful facility our staff will be able to inspire others, both young and old to
dream more, learn more, and do more, and become the very best they can be in their work and play,” says Dr. Norman Merrifield.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mayor Jones and President Samuels Announce Plans to Fund Four New Student Slots to Maggie Walker Governor’s School

Mayor Dwight C. Jones and City Council President Charles Samuels announced today that they will support four additional slots to the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies for the upcoming 2013 school year. The additional slots cost about $7,500 each. Funding for the additional slots will be taken from the Fiscal Year 2014 budget that is now being reviewed by Richmond City Council. Currently the city has an allotment of 197 slots to the Maggie Walker Governor’s School and the addition of four will increase that number to 201.

“Maggie Walker Governor’s School was ranked as the #16-best public high school in the nation in 2012,” said the Mayor. “I have made it a priority during my time in office to make sure that every child has an opportunity to grow and learn. To that end, when slots are available at this great school, I want to make sure that we offer them to Richmond students.”

Councilman Samuels said, “I appreciate the Mayor’s help in getting additional slots for Richmond students. Maggie Walker is a great school that offers an incredible education! We want to continue to expand upon our strengths as we move forward.”

Richmond School Board Chair Jeffrey Bourne said, “Maggie Walker Governor’s School is one of the most important educational pillars of not only the city of Richmond, but the entire region. Anytime we can expand this type of opportunity for Richmond residents, we need to jump at the chance.”

The availability of additional slots to the Maggie Walker Governor’s School became available when Hanover County reduced their slot allotment by seven. The Mayor and his administration, Richmond City Council, Richmond School Board and Richmond Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon worked to acquire the additional slots for city youth.