Richmond Schools Superintendent proposes 2027 completion date for George Wythe High School
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras has proposed a timeline for the construction process for George Wythe High School during Monday night school council.
According to Kamras’ proposalGeorge Wythe would open in fall 2027, with the existing building demolished and new outdoor sports facilities in place by fall 2028.
Kamras said he consulted with the city’s public procurement and public works offices because they are already working together on other school projects and because of their expertise. Kamras also said he had had conversations with staff at RPS facilities.
School board member Jonathan Young criticized Kamras for the RPS project taking longer than the projects carried out by Henrico and Chesterfield.
“From what I understand, Henrico and Chesterfield… the county is handling the supply and the school division is handling the construction,” school board member Cheryl Burke said, adding to Young’s comments.
Burke asked Kamras that if they partnered with the city for the procurement process, it would change the timeline.
Karmas said yes, although he couldn’t be sure how much. According to Kamras, the city is ready to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) while RPS is not and will not be for some time.
Kamras also responded to Young’s comments, saying he thought they were done doing a “us versus the counties” comparison.
School board members Stephanie Rizzi, Kenya Gibson and Dr Shonda Harris-Muhamad criticized the Kamras calendar. Gibson said schools working with the city constitute a conflict of interest.
“It concerns me that the administration is providing timelines that seem to align with the mayor’s agendas rather than this advice,” Gibson said.
Gibson suggested using the benchmark tenders to move forward with building George Wythe.
Dr Harris-Muhammed then proposed a motion for a 60-day and groundbreaking tender by December 2023.
This prompted Kamras to say that he could not do either of the proposed deadlines. Kamras said that when the school board decided to take over construction from George Wythe, it noted the 2027 completion date based on its initial estimates.
Kamras said he devoted much of his time and energy to reopening all schools after hearing from the board that this was their number one priority.
“I just don’t have the capacity on the team to issue a RFP on something as huge as a $ 140 million school,” Kamras said.
Kamras has said he will do everything in his power to build George Wythe, but asked the council to let him do that and also recognize that they have other pressing priorities.
The George Wythe project could impact and potentially delay other school building projects, Karmas said. However, everything will depend on the amount the school board chooses to invest in the development of a construction team.
After discussions among board members, Dr. Harris-Muhammed changed his 90-day and groundbreaking PD proposal motion no later than December 31, 2023.