Danville Superintendent says four schools need repairs and renovations estimated to cost $119M

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) Some school buildings in Danville need significant repairs. That's according to the superintendent, who estimates the work will cost more than $100 million.

Some buildings need a new roof. Others need a bigger cafeteria or updated technology.

Over the next few years, Danville school leaders say $119 million may need to be spent on upgrades to Woodberry Hills and Johnson Elementary Schools as well as Langston and George Washington High Schools.

"Johnson and Woodberry are both overcrowded and that's a major issue for both of them," says Danville Schools Chief Operations Officer, Kathy Osborne.

At Woodberry, school leaders say some classrooms are forced to accommodate as many as 29 students.

All four schools were built in the 1950's and haven't seen significant renovations since the early 2000's.

"We have technology centers, media centers and the small libraries that we have in our schools today, particularly at the elementary level, just don't work for what we have now," says Osborne.

Osborne says $119 million is just an estimate.

The needed repairs were identified as part of a study, conducted by a private consulting firm that was hired by the school system.

"Schools belong to the community. If the community chooses to invest in the infrastructure that's the community's decision. If they choose not to, then that's also the community's decision," says Danville Schools Superintendent, Dr. Stanley Jones.

Superintendent Stanley Jones says improvements have been made over the years, but only small fixes designed to address immediate needs.

"We have a capital budget that's set aside to address ongoing maintenance needs, just like you'd own a home. You can't build a home once and never do anything to it. You have to maintain it," says Jones.

Right now there are no plans to formally request 119 million dollars to make these repairs.

When the time comes to ask for the money, Jones says he wants the community to think of the request as a long-term investment designed to make these school buildings last another 50 years.