Radford school leaders continue fight for funding much-needed upgrades

Superintendent unclear about City Council plans to replace aging infrastructure

RADFORD, Va. – Radford City Schools continues fighting for money to fix problems at aging schools.

The issues are particularly prominent at McHarg Elementary School, which was built more than 60 years ago. They've far outgrown the space and have even resorted to turning closets into classrooms.

“We’re at the point now where we really need to do something,” said Robert Graham, Radford City Schools superintendent. “They’re not only instructional needs, but more importantly, they're security needs.”

Graham is asking Radford City Council for millions to renovate the school and expand. It’s a problem he's been trying to fix for nearly a decade now.

“We have to do this, we have to do this for our children. Our children deserve everything that the children in Montgomery County have, everything that the children in Pulaski County are getting with a new middle school or, let's say, even the children in Northern Virginia,” Graham said.

The needs stretch across the entire district, with more than $34 million requested overall. That includes upgrades at Radford High School, such as stadium lighting, renovating gyms and locker rooms, adding labs and various improvements to athletic fields and stadiums. They’re all pressing needs, according to Graham, but he has no idea where City Council stands on funding them. So 10 News went to Radford Mayor David Horton to find out.

“We are talking about the money as we talk about the projects. I think the real key is to look at what we want to do and how we want to do it and then we figure out what we can fund and how we're going to be able to fund it,” Horton said.

Funding the improvements will likely include tax increases, but Graham said it's worth it.

“We’re not asking for bells and whistles, we're just asking for updates so that we can have our 21st century learners in a 21st century facility,” Graham said.

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