Duval School District Plans Community Meetings To Discuss Aging Schools

Jan 28, 2019

The Duval County School Board is holding a series of community meetings starting Thursday to discuss the condition of its schools and facilities, including aging buildings that need costly repairs or potential replacement.

Our Florida Times-Union news partner reports the district has schools that are some of the oldest in Florida. The majority are more than 50 years old. Many are outdated or are in poor or very poor condition.

The buildings’ conditions affect the learning environment for students and teachers as well as neighboring property values and local business development, district leaders say.

“What I want every parent and community member to know is that every child deserves to be in a school environment that prepares them for the 21st century. Our goal is to get our buildings up to a standard that every child has the opportunity to be successful,” Superintendent Diana Greene said.

If the district keeps all 158 school buildings operating, it will need $1.08 billion to repair or replace them with new buildings, a study by the Jacobs Engineering group showed last month.

At least 56 — or 30 percent — of Duval’s buildings are identified as being in poor or very poor condition, or they need to be replaced. However, all schools are still safe and operational for students, although some have older, outdated components, according to the study.

The district paid Jacobs Engineering $1.2 million to help it develop a long-term facilities plan, which potentially could include closing and consolidating schools while repairing or replacing others.

A longer version of this story that looks at the challenges ahead and has a list of meeting locations is at Jacksonville.com.