The School Board has voted to demolish Arcola Elementary School in Aldie and replace it with a new building at a cost of $21,450,000.
The new school would open in the fall of 2007, and funding would be included in the FY 2006 budget. Eight board members voted in favor of the plan last week. Vice-chairman Thomas Reed was absent.
Robert Dupree (Dulles) said the Dulles area is growing rapidly. “We need student space down there very badly,” he said. “It would be the best solution for the students there. … It’s the best option for the taxpayers.”
The board had considered renovating the school and adding eight classrooms, a full gymnasium, a computer laboratory, and a new library at a cost of $11,515,000 or to make the same renovations and additions plus make it ADA compliant and to install a sprinkler system at a cost of $15,980,000.
Chairman John Andrews said he was persuaded to raze the school, partly because students would have been moved out of the building regardless of the option.
Dupree said board members met with the community and there was no strong allegiance to any one course of action. It turns out new regulations would have required a sprinkler system if the board chose to renovate Arcola, he added.
Warren Geurin (Sterling) said Arcola has filled an important need by serving as an overflow facility for overcrowded schools in the Ashburn area. He initially thought it was better to renovate the school. “After our discussion the other evening, …. the proposal made by the committee is absolutely the best,” he said.
Bob Ohneiser (Broad Run) said he wished the school could continue to serve that purpose. “But frankly, given the growth, Arcola couldn’t serve as an overflow much longer. … There isn’t enough space to overflow an entire school.”