Friday, February 3, 2023

This building has been vacant since 2010. There’s something planned for it

The Wythe Elementary School was built in 1936 (HNNDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Hampton City Schools)
The Wythe Elementary School was built in 1936 (HNNDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Hampton City Schools)

HAMPTON — In 2003, a panel created by City Council and School Board recommended turning a vacant Sentara hospital into a new Pre-K – 8 school, according to Kellie Goral, spokeswoman for the city’s schools.

The George C. Wythe Elementary School, located on 200 Claremont Ave. less than five minutes away from the new school, closed in 2010 and has remained vacant since.

During that time frame, the city’s school district used the building to store furniture for a couple years before working with the city’s planing department and asking for the community’s input about the school through meetings and an online survey.

In June 2014, the school district had the building tested for lead and asbestos and asked for applications from general contractors to take on the project.

The Marine Chemist Services, Inc's Phase I Environmental Site Assessment results for Wythe Elementary School (HNNDaily Photo/Courtesy of Hampton City Schools)
The Marine Chemist Services, Inc’s Phase I Environmental Site Assessment results for Wythe Elementary School (HNNDaily Photo/Courtesy of Hampton City Schools)

Then in 2016, the School Board gave the building to the city. A year later, John Garland, a city councilman and developer from Roanoke, submitted an unsolicited proposal to renovate the building into 41 apartment units for multiple families.

The Conceptual Site Layout Plan of the Wythe Elementary School (HNNDaily Photo/ Courtesy of the City of Hampton)

The Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority approved the proposal on Sept. 24 and sent it to City Council for approval.

According to the proposal, Garland would buy the building, worth $349,800, for $10 due to the building’s deterioration, and agree to invest a minimum of $5 million to the project while preserving building’s Art deco style tiles and glazed owls. The city would agree reimburse Garland up to $1.1 million for asbestos, repairs and renovations.

On Nov. 14, City Council approved the Wythe Elementary School proposal, said Robin McCormick, the city’s communications strategist.

Council members voted unanimously, and while the meeting was open for public comment, no one showed up to speak in favor for or against the proposal.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsiglianohttp://wydaily.com
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to julia@localvoicemedia.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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