Supervisor Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge, hosted a town hall meeting Dec. 8 to help showcase some of the new options the county is considering as it contemplates the construction of elementary schools to alleviate overcrowding.
Though the school division is currently wrapping up construction of a replacement for Kilby Elementary School in Woodbridge and a new elementary school in Dumfries, county leaders believe they need to keep pushing forward with school construction to cut down on the number of students learning in trailers on the county’s eastern end.“The required 20-acre parcel of land for an elementary school no longer exists in eastern Prince William, and those that are available are quite cost-prohibitive,” Principi said. “Is it time to consider the possibility of an urban school in eastern Prince William? That is the question.”
Specifically, Principi and other county officials are studying the possibility of moving away from the traditional suburban school design that incorporates athletic fields.
Dave Cline, the school division’s associate superintendent for finance and support services, pointed out that fields take up “roughly 30 percent” of the land the county has traditionally pursued for a new school…He added that school division staffers have been working with their counterparts in Fairfax County to study how to make a similar transition with the construction of an “urban elementary school” in Bailey’s Crossroads. Fairfax officials chose to buy a five-story office building to house a group of fourth- through sixth-grade students—creating a school surrounded by asphalt parking lots rather than athletic fields—and Cline suspects a similar plan could work in Prince William.
School board Vice Chairman Lillie Jessie of the Occoquan District said she came away especially impressed with the facility…
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