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School renovations expected to be complete by the first day of school

Published On: Aug 02 2013 05:02:20 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 02 2013 05:04:33 PM EDT
Crews continue to work on renovations



The clock is ticking until the start of a new school year in Roanoke.

Students and faculty have been out of the classroom and enjoying their summer break, but the schools have not been empty.

Major renovations have been going on at some of the elementary schools since June.

Virginia Heights Elementary is one of those schools getting a makeover.

"This is a significant one,” said Roanoke City Schools Deputy Superintendent Curt Baker. “This is the largest of the three projects we have going this summer."

The school is getting a new multi-purpose room, library, art room and five new classrooms.

School officials tore down all of Virginia Height’s modular classrooms back in June to make room for the new classrooms inside the school.

Crews are also renovating Roundhill Elementary and Garden City Elementary.

"At the end of the day, our goal is to provide a safe, comfortable and terrific learning environment for every one of our students and we look at our schools carefully every year and the capital programs are supposed to provide the best educational environment that we can for our students," said Baker.

More than $4 million dollars are being used to update lighting, add classrooms, fix floors, replace roofing and renovate cafeterias in less than 3 months.

"We're cautiously optimistic that everything will be great on opening day,” he said. “The weather has been a challenge over the course of the summer."

The new school year begins on August 19th for Roanoke City Schools, but school officials don't have any doubts about getting students back in the classrooms.

"With a project of this size, some of the things in the rooms still may need to be worked on, but by in large, there's nothing here at this moment that we will have any difficulty in opening."

Round Hill Elementary is getting a new gym while Garden City Elementary is renovating 12 classrooms. The school is also getting a new kitchen and a renovated cafeteria and the gym is getting a new roof and floor.

Baker said he can't wait to see how everyone will react once they walk through the doors of the newly renovated schools.

These renovations are helping the school meet one of its biggest goals to eliminate all modular units.

In 2008, the school system was using 41 mobile classrooms. Once these projects are finished, they will only have 11 left.