• Duval County Public Schools needs $1.08B to revamp, repair all 158 school buildings

    By: Courtney Cole , Action News Jax

    Updated:

     $1.08 billion.

    That’s how much the Duval County School District needs to get all of its school buildings back in tip-top shape.

    The Jacobs Engineering group, hired by the district, worked on a study to help figure out how to solve this problem.

    Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole read through the study. She found there are currently 56 buildings in poor or very poor condition.

    Parents Cole spoke with couldn’t believe it.

    "This is crazy!" Eisidra Miranda said when she heard the news.

    The Duval County School District says their school buildings are some of the oldest in Florida.

    The average age of the school buildings is almost 60 years, according to Warren Jones, the vice chair of the Duval County School Board.

    "I feel like they need to do a better job on it. These kids need the best of the best,” said Miranda.

    Miranda's daughter goes to one of the schools in need of the most renovation: Highlands Elementary School.

    Pickett Elementary and Annie R. Morgan Elementary also fall under what the engineering group called the 'replacement' category.

    This means those three buildings will  require the most money to repair and maintain—65 percent  (or more) of what it would cost to tear down and re-build it.

    Another Highland’s parent told me he doesn't understand why they let the buildings get to this point.

    "Most structures have a life expectancy if you're not able to get it fixed up in prime condition, then we need another building,” Joe Walker told Action News Jax.

    Seven DCPS buildings fall under the 'good' category, 39 are 'average' and the remaining 56 are 'below average.'

    The firm says it would take $1.08 billion to fix all 158 schools across the district.

    According to the breakdown of the study, most of the problem areas for the school buildings are:

    • Mechanical: which primarily deals with the heating and cooling of the building
    • Interior
    • Roofing

    The school district told Action News Jax maintenance issues have not been addressed because they don't have the money.

    Ten years ago the district received $130 million for construction, renovation, and repair.

    They now only have about $22 million, and the Duval County School District said this is a result of cuts from the state.

    “The board shares a desire to ensure that all children have a safe and effective learning environment. Tuesday’s report from the administration was the first step in a planning process to ensure we can meet that goal in the future.  The report put solid numbers to the condition of our school buildings. In the new year, we will work with the administration to create opportunities for public involvement in this discussion,” Jones said.

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