The Fairfax County School Board recently signed off on a deal that will give the county’s education system an extra boost over the next few years.
A recent meeting had the Board approving a Capital Improvement Plan that will provide the county with $777 million during the next five years, starting in 2017. According to a news release from Fairfax County Public Schools, the school system has been expanding by approximately 2,400 students per year since the 2009–2010 school year. By the end of the 2020–2021 school year, the Capital Improvement Plan estimates that Fairfax County will be serving around 189,000 students.
Because of the immense growth, four new elementary schools and one new high school are being planned for, as well as renovations and “capacity enhancements” to assist existing schools in accommodating so many students.
“The school system struggles to provide sufficient capacity in our schools,” Superintendent Karen Garza said in a letter accompanying a presentation of the plan. “Despite the planned additional capacity intended to address projected needs, uneven enrollment growth throughout the county will necessitate the continuation of small- and large-scale boundary adjustments to take advantage of available capacity whenever it is practicable to do so.”
School Board Chairman Pat Hynes also seemed concerned with the rapidly expanding student population, saying, “We are particularly challenged by growth in certain areas of the county and higher growth rates among middle and high school students, requiring us to examine a variety of solutions, including temporary classrooms, modular additions and boundary adjustments. Any boundary adjustments would be discussed and decided with considerable input from the community.”
Some of the proposed plans to keep up with student expansion include:
- Gymnasium at Bailey’s Upper Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences (already covered by funding)
- New elementary school in the Route 1 corridor to help with overcrowding in the Groveton-Hybla Valley area (already covered by funding)
- Expansion and renovation of Fort Belvoir Elementary School (already covered by funding)
- Additions to South Lakes High School and Westbriar Elementary School (already covered by funding)
- Construction of a new elementary school in the northwest area of Fairfax County (waiting on coverage approval)
- Elementary school in the Fairfax-Oakton area (waiting on coverage approval)
- High school close to the end of Metro Silver Line, on the west end of the county (waiting on coverage approval)
—McEnearney Associates, “Schools in Fairfax County get a much-needed financial lift”
The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) will host “Little Hands Preschool Art Class” to introduce young children to art via art exhibitions, games, books and visuals. GRACE is located in Reston Town Center at 12001 Market St #103. Runs 10-11 a.m. Tuesdays, March 1-29, with each class limited to 10 children ages 3-5. $80/Reston Residents, $120/non-residents. 703-471-9242 or restonarts.org.
GRACE will also host Art Family Day noon-3 p.m. March 5 in celebration of “Youth Art Month.” Free.
Every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Potomac River Running hosts a fun, low-key run that’s safe and social for beginners or competitive runners. 703-689-0999 or potomacriverrunning.com.
Did I miss an event happening today? Know about something coming up? What real estate questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below.