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First day of school for Roanoke city students, with some changes

By Melissa Gaona, mgaona@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:31:27 AM EST
Updated On: Aug 19 2013 05:37:50 PM EDT

School is back but construction on some of Roanoke City's schools is still going on.

ROANOKE, Va. -

School is back but construction on some of Roanoke City's schools is still going on.

At Virginia Heights elementary they're still getting some rooms ready including this multi-purpose room.   

Part of the renovations included adding new classrooms, and they're all ready to go.

Superintendent Rita Bishop says she's most excited about the kids not having to learn in trailers separate from the building.   

"For me, the most significant is getting rid of those learning cottages, also known as modulars, Bishop said, "We have bright new classrooms we've gotten rid of that disaster."

The cost of the construction at Virginia Heights was $2.5 million.

Construction is also ongoing at Round Hill Elementary. The first phase of a three-phase construction project was completed in time for the school year, giving Round Hill it's first ever gymnasium.

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Roanoke City Public Schools will welcome back more than 13,000 students Monday, August 19.  Preliminary figures show our enrollment will be up by nearly 200 students district wide.

For students in two elementary schools, it will be like walking into a brand new school.  Over the summer, a major renovation project took place at Virginia Heights Elementary.  The modular unit is gone and the school now has 5 new classrooms, an art room, a library, and a multi-purpose room, which will be used as a gym.  The multi-purpose room should be ready in another week or so.  Otherwise, the school will be ready Monday.

At Garden City Elementary, 16 classrooms were renovated to include new paint, carpeting, electrical outlets, closet doors, cabinets, and white boards/smart boards.  The school also has a brand new kitchen and the cafeteria was extensively renovated, along with the stage.  The gym is getting a new floor.  It should be ready in the first few weeks of school.

Here are some other tidbits about the upcoming school year:

All Roanoke city high school students will be able to take dual enrollment classes at Virginia Western Community College, free of charge.

RCPS has spent over a $1,000,000 buying new mathematics textbooks for grades K-12.

All of our elementary and middle schools have new globes and maps.  They are age appropriate.

RCPS has joined forces with Big Brothers Big Sisters to start a mentoring program at the Oliver Hill House in Roanoke.  Oliver Hill was a famous civil rights attorney who helped to end the doctrine “separate but equal.”  A pilot program over the summer was a huge success.

For more information, click here.