FRONT ROYAL — Ressie Jeffries Elementary School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday after the school completed all of the indoor portions of a $12 million renovation of the building and playground.
During the ceremony, Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher said that the recent renovations would build a better environment for the school’s students.
“An environment makes a difference; we know that,” Drescher said. “The environment could be physical, could be emotional, could be mental. And this county’s come a long way in helping this environment for our students.”
The renovations at Ressie Jeffries, which began in 2016, were wide in scope, covering changes to the school’s playground, a renovation of the floors and walls and the installation of a central heating and cooling system.
The district still has a portion of the renovation remaining. Melody Sheppard, the assistant superintendent for the district, said the playground’s basketball court still has to be split into two courts and that there are plans for more playground equipment.
But outside of the playground, the renovations are complete. The district has added 62 parking spaces, added a new front entrance, added an HVAC system in the gym and renovated the floors and walls.
For Doug Stanley, county administrator for Warren County, the recent renovations showed the degree to which Warren County cared about investing in its low-income children. More Ressie Jeffries students are eligible to receive free meals than at any school in the district other than E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School, according to data from the Virginia Department of Education.
“The fact that the children at this school come from some of our most challenged families from an income standpoint is exactly why we as a community needed to make this investment in the project: to show that we care about them and want them to succeed so badly that we’re willing to make this investment in their futures,” Stanley said.