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George Wythe High School Next In Line For Replacement

George Wythe High School
FILE PHOTO: George Wythe High School. (Alan Rodriguez Espinoza)

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney says the city will work toward building a new high school south of the James River.

At a press conference in front of George Wythe High School on Thursday, Stoney announced the facility would be next in line for replacement. Greene Elementary and Elkhardt-Thompson Middle in Southside and George Mason Elementary in Church Hill were replaced with new buildings that opened last month. George Wythe High, which currently serves about 1,300 students, has undergone only one renovation since it opened in 1960.

Stoney said Richmond’s students deserve to be in 21st century learning environments.

“It’s the space where they’ll spend four of the most formative, consequential years of their lives,” he said. “These years that are so impactful on our kids’ future shouldn’t be spent in a building stuck in the past.”

Richmond has partially funded new school construction with a meals tax increase approved by City Council in 2018. That 1.5% increase was expected to generate about $9 million annually and allowed the city to borrow $150,000. The money leftover from construction of the three schools opened this year will be used to begin the design process. First, the city will host community meetings for residents living around George Wythe High School.

Stoney was joined at the press conference Thursday by three Richmond School Board members: Linda Owen, Dawn Page and Cheryl Burke. City Council member Stephanie Lynch was also present. 

Principal Joseph Pisani said George Wythe High School has served as a cornerstone of the community in that part of Southside and will continue to do so after it’s rebuilt.

“These kids have achieved greatness in a building that was around before I was born,” Pisani said. “Imagine what they’ll be able to do in a building that is modern and up-to-date. Just the possibility is unbelievable, and we’re really excited.”

It’s unclear whether the new school, once constructed, will still carry the name George Wythe. The Richmond School Board will go through the process of vetting and selecting the final name.

Stoney also declined to provide a timeline for when construction might begin, saying only that he wanted students in a new building “as soon as possible.”


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