Less than a month after the city of Charlottesville funded the bulk of the Buford Middle School reconstruction project, Charlottesville City School was awarded a $17.6 million grant from the Virginia Department of Education. 

Logo reads "Short & Important"

The City of Charlottesville allocated $78.4 million in funding the Buford reconfiguration project at the end of April. However, the City was short $13.4 million in funding at that time. 

The grant comes from the VDOE’s School Construction Assistance Program, a special funding initiative created to grant school boards in need of money for serious construction projects. The program birthed from the 2022 Appropriation Act. 

“As the schools brought forth this project for final approval, we and the City were eyeing this grant program with great hope,” Charlottesville Schools Chief Operations Officer Kim Powell said in a news release. “I cannot begin to tell you how excited and thankful we are to have the state’s support on this project.” 

The additional funding from the grant will allow the school board to proceed with the project without using funding for other “school facility needs and capital improvement projects,” the release said. 

The school system aims to start construction shortly after school lets out on June 9, and it will continue until August 2026. An exact date has yet to be determined. 

With complete funding, City Schools is now able to build a performing arts center, a school-yard garden and an outdoor classroom. Such items had been left out of past plans in an effort to not hold off construction. 

Reconstructing and reconfiguring its middle school has been a decade-long goal for City Schools. By 2026, the school division will have one central middle school for its students. Students will also attend fifth grade at their elementary schools for the first time since 1988.

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Tamica Jean-Charles

I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's education and families reporter. Reach out to me by email or on Twitter. Also, subscribe to our newsletter! C’mon, it’s free.