Henrico, Va. Nov. 1, 2019 – With two groundbreaking ceremonies Friday, construction formally began on two Henrico County high schools that will replace older structures. School and county leaders tossed symbolic shovels of dirt during a morning ceremony at J.R. Tucker High School, and an afternoon event at Highland Springs High School. Replacement schools will be built adjacent to the existing schools, and will open for the 2021-22 school year, ensuring that students in their Henrico County communities have first-class facilities for generations to come.
Community members and students joined school, county and state leaders for brief speeches on a cold, breezy day. At both schools, the band, cheerleaders and dance teams added to the festivities, as earth movers provided a backdrop. Speakers included Art Raymond, principal of J.R. Tucker, and Ken White, principal of Highland Springs.
“These walls have stood here for nearly six decades and have watched thousands of students tap into the limitless power of education,” said John Vithoulkas, Henrico County manager. “Today is the day we begin building a new future for our students – a future of possibilities.”
“This is a proud moment for Henrico Schools, and a proud day for me as superintendent,” said Amy Cashwell, Henrico County Schools superintendent. “While this moment marks the beginning of something wonderful and new, we also understand that the legacies in these buildings are not forgotten.”
“New memories will be built along with the new buildings,” said Micky Ogburn, the School Board’s Three Chopt District representative. “The high quality of the buildings will now come close to matching the high quality of the education that our kids receive.”
“This beautiful new building symbolizes our dedication to Henrico’s children,” said John Montgomery, School Board chair and Varina District representative. “Just as those who came before us left a legacy of excellence, we want to leave future generations a Henrico school division that is even better than the one we enjoy.”
“Most of all, I want to thank Henrico’s residents,” said Tyrone Nelson, chair of the Henrico Board of Supervisors and Varina District representative. “You are the ones who are making these schools possible. You are the ones who said education is a priority. You backed it up in 2013 by approving a meals tax to support school operating and capital needs. You backed it up again in the 2016 bond referendum by authorizing $272 million in funding for new and renovated schools. Thank you for saying ‘yes’ to our youth and to our community’s future.”
“We would not be here without the support of Henrico’s residents,” said Harvey Hinson, former Brookland supervisor who delivered a message from Tommy Branin, Three Chopt District supervisor. “They have repeatedly said that education and the future of our young people are priorities … It’s part of what makes the county such a wonderful place for families and businesses.”
In September 2018, Henrico officials announced the replacement of both J.R. Tucker and Highland Springs high schools. Both new schools will open for the 2021-22 school year. Keep up with construction at the school division’s construction page, henricoschools.us/building-for-the-future/.