RPS narrows down design firm for new William Fox Elementary school

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – This week, the Richmond Public School construction team picked a design firm to help rebuild William Fox Elementary School after a massive fire gutted it in February.

The director of the construction, Dana Fox, presented details about the contracts to Richmond School Board Members during their meeting Monday.

Fox says the RPS construction team had six design firms bidding for the chance to rebuild the school before leaning towards the company Quinn Evans Architechs.

“We have selected Quinn Evans as the firm to do the design work for Fox based on their experience with historical projects and their familiarity with RPS’s infrastructure,” Fox said. “I think we’re ready and prepared, and they think the board is looking forward to having another opportunity to review.”

The RPS Construction Team says the total cost for the contract, if Quinn Evans is selected to build Fox, would be $1.9 million. According to the presentation shown to board members Monday, RPS would save over half a million dollars in negotiated cost savings if Quinn Evans is selected. Still, the board must first vote to approve the group.

Fox says if the board agrees with the construction team’s selection, they could vote to approve Quinn Evans during the next school board meeting on the 15th. If given the green light, the firm could begin the early phases of designing the interior of the historic elementary school school.

“One of the first things we would do is do a full laser scan of the building so that we understand exactly how this building has been built. And those images would be shown in a 3D model so we can see everything from the inside and outside of the building and then rebuild it from there,” Fox said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a rubber stamp approval.”

Debris removal has begun in the auditorium area and will continue into the 2nd-floor classroom wing shortly.

The Aug. 15 board meeting is also when Fox says updates would be given on the new George Wythe High School. The construction team will present floor plan layouts and give an update on the programming based on community input for the new high school.

The RPS Steering Committee met Wednesday to finalize the programming for the floor plan and the exterior elevation selection.

According to the presentation, the Community Committee will also meet to advise their selections based on community engagement and ballot voting. These selections will be brought to the school board for approval at the Aug. 15 board meeting, with the goal of submitting them to the city’s Urban Design Committee by Aug. 20.

“We’re looking forward to getting that presented, and then our next step – which is a huge step – is getting our final selection in for the Urban Design Committee, and we hope to get in front of them for their September review meeting, Fox said.

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