JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools will host several meetings over the next few weeks to talk about the conditions of some of the district’s schools and facilities.
Duval County has the oldest schools in Florida. The district said some of the schools are more than 50 years old. In December, News4Jax focused on seven public school buildings in Duval County that were put in "very poor" or "replacement" categories, and nearly 50 others are considered "poor."
Those results and more from a district study will be presented to parents at community meetings, each at a different school in the county. School officials will provide an overview of the district’s school buildings and its plan to move forward with improvements and/or replacements.
Don Nelson, the Assistant Superintendent of Operations, said the conditions of district schools are assessed about every 10 years.
“If you think of it like your home, as far as how old are the things in your home and when you’d expect things to start failing, it’s the same thing for schools, businesses and buildings,” Nelson explained.
He added that last year, outside contractors were hired to do a "Facilities Condition Index," to inspect every school in the district. They evaluate the condition of each school by looking at several different areas including the interior, exterior and mechanical systems.
“They looked at major areas within the schools. Mechanical, air conditioning, roofing, windows, flooring, all those types of areas of the school and from that, they develop a report based on what the life cycle or expected life cycle is for all those different areas,” said Nelson. “It’s not a safety risk at all. As a matter of fact, we would not be allowed to hold school or have children in the school if there are safety violations within a school.”
The meetings began Thursday and run through the end of February. The district said the meetings are being held in each school board district and the locations have no significance to the condition of the schools where they are being held.
Community meeting schedule
|Loretto Elementary||Jan. 31||3900 Loretto Road|
|Paxon School for Advanced Studies||Feb. 7||3239 Norman E. Thagard Blvd.|
|Douglas Anderson School of the Arts||Feb. 11||2445 San Diego Road|
|Alimacani Elementary||Feb. 12||2051 San Pablo Road S.|
|Ed White High School||Feb. 25||1700 Old Middleburg Road|
|Andrew Jackson High School||Feb. 27||3816 N. Main Street|
|Terry Parker High School||Feb. 28||7301 Parker School Road|
All meetings will begin at 6 p.m.
All the meetings will mostly cover the same ground, including:
- Current facility conditions in Duval County compared to seven largest districts in Florida
- Average age of school buildings
- The decrease in capital funds received for maintenance over the years
- An overview of the Facility Condition Index and how it’s used to measure a building’s health
- An overview of the Facility Condition Index across the district, not school by school
This report is the beginning of the process. District officials said no recommendations have been made. The company hired to assess the conditions of the schools is expected to present recommendations to the school board in May.