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Since the one percent sales tax referendum for school construction projects and the accompanying bond referendum both passed in November, Danville Public Schools (DPS) has been working on the next phases of the capital improvement projects. In the past week, DPS has celebrated two major milestones with groundbreaking ceremonies at both the John M. Langston and George Washington High School campuses.
“The citizens of Danville chose to invest their dollars into our schools and our students,” Danville School Board Chair Crystal Cobbs. “On behalf of the board, we thank you for that investment.”
Following stakeholder feedback sessions, DPS and the community celebrated the kickoff of the John M. Langston renovation projects on March 16. In an expected $30 million renovation, the campus will be the future home of Galileo Magnet High School, as well as DPS Central Office.
The renovated facility will include a STEM and Career Academy for all students division-wide and gymnasium and auditorium spaces that will be available for community use. In addition, there will be a dedicated space to honor the legacy of the Langston campus, which dates back to 1957 as the city’s black high school during segregation. With a goal to start renovations by fall 2022, renovations are expected to be complete in 2024.
On March 22, the community gathered again to celebrate George Washington High School (GW) with another groundbreaking ceremony. This ceremony recognized an anticipated $80 million dollar campus-wide renovation that will begin in fall 2022.
Planned renovations include improvements to the Career and Technical Education building to allow for new programs, such as culinary arts, hospitality, and skilled trades, as well as updated spaces for existing programs. This building also houses the nearly complete Piedmont Access to Health Services (PATHS) school-based health clinic. A new, larger performance gym is planned to be accessible by students and the community. Improved spaces for performing and visual arts programs, an updated media center, renovated classrooms, and a hall of fame to honor GW alumni will also be included.
In addition, work has already begun on a brand-new track and field facility, thanks to generous funds from Danville City Council, and is expected to be complete by September. The track will be NCAA compliant and will be used by Galileo and GW runners. In addition, Averett University has partnered with DPS in a lease arrangement for joint use and operation of the track facility, which allows for the creation of intercollegiate track and field programs at Averett.
“This public-private relationship to develop this track facility is yet another way in which Averett works with Danville Public Schools, a partnership that will ensure the development of competitive student-athletes who will now have access and opportunity throughout their educational journey,” said Averett University President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks. “In December, Averett announced the addition of varsity men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs, which will begin competition during the 2022-23 academic year, also when the University will join the esteemed Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).”
Danville City Council has been a partner in the capital improvement process, having approved the sales tax and issuance of bonds for school renovations. The city anticipates around $129 million in bonds to be available around the end of April.
Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones commended Danville Citizens for voting for the cause.
“You said as citizens, ‘I want learning environments that will help every student achieve,’” Jones said. “You said as citizens, ‘I want students to have 21-Century upgrades.’ You said as citizens, ‘I want students to have greater technology access. So as Mayor, we want to say to our citizens, thank you so much for voting yes.”
For more information on these projects and Danville Public Schools, visit danvillepubilicschools.org. To stay updated on all capital projects, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/danvillevapublicschools.