Aging schools cause a growing problem with safety, learning concerns

By Jenna Zibton - Anchor

ROANOKE, Va. - A growing issue across the country and right here in our area could be affecting your child's learning.

Aging schools are a problem and there just isn't enough money to fix them.

At Glen Cove Elementary School in Roanoke County, there are no walls separating the classrooms. All the school has is cubbies and mobile bulletin boards splitting four classes. It's the same story for the higher grades. 

"It's something you have to grow accustomed to and it can, at times, be distracting," said Glen Cove Elementary School Principal Stephanie Hogan.

Open-concept classrooms were once popular but now Roanoke County School Board Chairman Don Butzer said they're both a safety issue and a big distraction. 

"We want to have a modern environment for our kids. We want to be able to give them the best instructional environment that we possibly can and having some of these old buildings that we have that you'll see you today, it's just not conducive to that any longer," said Butzer.

He said six schools need major renovations right now.

The problem is that those renovations will cost $120 million and take about 15 years. 

Butzer says his job is to talk about the problem but it's up to the county's Board of Supervisors to come up with how to pay for the solution. 

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