Westfield Addition: Not Soon Enough

Westfield Addition: Not Soon Enough

Lu Ann Maciulla McNabb says it seems only fitting that her daughter who attended Cub Run Elementary with 14 trailers will graduate this spring from Westfield High School with 14 trailers. But now her two sons, a freshman and seventh-grader, also seem slated to spend time in trailers at Westfield in future years.

"I would like to thank the Board for including a 24-room addition to Westfield," said Maciulla McNabb to the School Board last Thursday, Jan. 15. "I am, however, dismayed that this addition will not be in place until the fall of 2006, when this year's seventh-grade class are sophomores… In 2008, we will be the largest high school in the county."

Maciulla McNabb, Dana Cimino and Lynn Terhar were three of the dozens of parents to testify before the Fairfax County School Board last Thursday about the school system's Capital Improvement Program.

OVER THE COURSE of the next four years, Westfield High School is promised the estimated $8.7 million it will take to complete the 24-room addition to the school.

"As our numbers burgeon toward 3,300 in 2005, it will be a welcome addition to students, staff and parents of the Westfield community," testified Dana Cimino, president of Stone Middle School PTA and a member of the Westfield PTSA.

Despite supporting inclusion of Westfield's addition in the proposed CIP, both Cimino and McNabb expressed concern that large and crowded schools lead to fewer opportunities for students.

"The larger the school, the less chance students of better than average and average ability get involved in athletics and the arts. Only the superior get the chance to play," Maciulla McNabb said.

"While we are adding classrooms, modulars and trailers, the common areas, including cafeterias, libraries, auditoriums, gyms and hallways and specialized rooms for art, orchestra, band, theater and chorus are not increasing, either in size or number," Cimino said.

Growing numbers of students also impact security at the school, testing situations and equipment available at the school, such as photocopying machines, said Terhar, past president of the Westfield PTSA.

WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL, which currently has more than 2,700 students, is scheduled to receive $271,440 in FY 2005, $7,046,130 in FY 2006 and $860,430 in FY 2007.

Voters approved funding for the addition to Westfield and a 14-classroom modular at Chantilly in the 2003 School Bond Referendum.

Under the proposed CIP, the $2.6 million, 14-room modular to Chantilly High School will be funded in FY 2005-2007, and a $1.55 million, 8-room modular addition to Centreville High School in FY 2005-2006.

The School Board is scheduled to hold its Regular Meeting No. 12 on the Capital Improvement Program this Thursday, Jan. 22, at Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church, at 7:30 p.m.

The School Board is scheduled to adopt its final budget on May 27.