FCPS Board OKs Plan That Will Expand Herndon, SLHS

South Lakes High SchoolSouth Lakes and Herndon High Schools are slated get renovations to hold more students after the Fairfax County Public Schools Board approved an $856 million Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2016-2020.

The school board approved the five-year plan, $220 million of which is currently funded with approved school bonds, at its meeting on Thursday.

The remainder of the funds for the CIP will comes from a school bond referendum in the fall of 2015 and subsequent years, FCPS says.

“With increasing enrollment and aging facilities, it remains a challenge to respond to our capital and infrastructure needs,” says School Board Chair Tammy Derenak Kaufax.

“More than 35 percent of our schools are over capacity and our efforts to renovate schools and increase capacity are limited by the current bond sale allocation which remains insufficient to meet our ongoing capital needs.  Unfortunately, this means we are going to have to continue to use temporary classrooms for the foreseeable future in order to accommodate our students.”

The school system has grown by more then 2,000 students a year the past several years, FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza said. She estimated in December that FCPS, which now has 187,000 students (22,000 more than in 2006) may have 198,000 students in 2019-2020. It is among the largest schools systems in the United States.

The money to build an addition at SLHS, which is now overcrowded after a redistricting to add more students seven years ago, comes from the $225 million school bond referendum voters approved in 2013. SLHS will have the capacity for 2,700 students after the addition is built. Herndon’s capacity is expected to increase to 2,500 after expansion there.

Other enhancements affecting the Reston from that bond round include capacity enhancements and renovations at Langley, Herndon, and Oakton High Schools.

Also part of the plan, an elementary redistricting once Terraset and Sunrise Valley Elementary Schools complete renovations next school year. When the renovations are completed,  Terraset will have a capacity of 800 and Sunrise Valley ES will have a capacity of 750.

Other suggestions and plans for Area 1 (Herndon and Reston) in the 2016-2020 CIP include:

  • Aldrin and Armstrong ES: Reassign the Advanced Academic (AAP) students residing within the Aldrin ES and Armstrong ES attendance areas from Forest Edge ES AAP Center to the already existing Clearview ES AAP Center upon completion of the renovation.
  • Hughes MS: Renovation and capacity enhancement to be completed in the 10-year CIP cycle.
  • Herndon MS: Capacity deficit accommodated with temporary facilities or interior architectural modifications.
  • Herndon HS is predicted to be at 114 percent capacity, among the highest in the county, by 2019-20. Herndon will undergo renovation that will increase capacity to 2,500 students.
  • New High School: Construct a new high school in the western end of the Silver Line Metro vicinity. This solution will involve multiple boundary adjustments to the schools in the western portion of the county, taking some of the overpopulation away from Herndon and South Lakes High Schools.

Read more about the CIP on FCPS’ website.

File photo

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