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Roanoke City Public Schools proposes to buy former Roanoke Times building, repurpose current facilities

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:25 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke City Public Schools is pushing for equity in the district.

The school system wants all students to have equal access to technical programs and to provide families with more educational opportunities.

To take the step forward, the school system is proposing to purchase and repurpose buildings throughout the city.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Superintendent Verletta White presented a proposal to buy the old Roanoke Times building and renovate and upgrade its current facilities.

The goal is to create a new technical education center closer to William Fleming High School, so students like Devin Williamson can have easier access to the programs.

Right now, the junior has to travel between high schools every day to take his technical career classes.

“There’s a lot of time wasted right there,” Williamson said. “I think it would be easier if it was at Fleming.”

Part of Monday’s proposal also discussed transforming the William Ruffner building, next door to the William Fleming High School, into another Roanoke Technical Education Center.

“Just as we have ROTEC at Gibboney Hall at the Patrick Henry Campus, we want a premiere site at Fleming as well,” White said.

In the outlined plans, the school district would move all its administrative offices to the former Roanoke Times building and repurpose its Douglas Avenue facility to host adult educational programs and family workshops, and serve as a welcome center for new families moving to the district.

“If we can make sure we are beefing up literacy in our families and giving our families access, then we will also automatically prepare our students with literacy as well,” White said.

The multi-million-dollar proposal would happen in three phases over the next three years.

A survey will be available for public feedback starting Wednesday and city council will discuss and vote on the proposal at a later meeting.

For more information about the proposal you can visit the Roanoke City Public Schools website.

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