Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick presented his recommended fiscal year 2008-2012 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget to School Board members Tuesday, Nov. 14. The grand total for projects over the next five years: $969,585,000 — $916 million for construction and $53 million for land.
The FY '08 budget, which covers school project and land costs between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, reached $270 million. The budget funds a $112 million Advanced Technology Academy and a high school in the Loudoun Estates II subdivision in Ashburn, six plots of land throughout Ashburn and the Leesburg area and road improvements.
The Advanced Technology Academy, scheduled to open in 2010, will replace the 29-year-old Monroe Technology Center in Leesburg.
The FY '08 budget also includes a two-story elementary school in Moorefield Station in the Ashburn area, the first of its kind in the county, and construction and design plans for a two-story middle school in the Ashburn area.
Hatrick said they have to build a two-story middle school to fit the plot of land. The construction of the two-story buildings will be more expensive because they do not follow a protocol, he said.
The proposed land purchases include three plots in the Ashburn area, one plot in the Leesburg area and two plots in the western part of the county.
The land will be purchased by a land acquisition fund set up by the Board of Supervisors in 2002 to provide the county and School Board flexibility in land acquisition.
THERE HAS BEEN a slow down in the real estate market in Loudoun County, but Sam Adamo, director of the Department of Planning and Legislative Services, said the county is still increasing "quite rapidly."
More than 50,000 students enrolled in Loudoun County Public Schools. In 2011, Adamo projected 66,887 students will enroll in the school system.
With that said, the superintendent recommended building three new elementary schools in the Leesburg area, an additional elementary in Moorefield Station and an elementary school in the Ashburn area; a new middle school, mostly likely also in Moorefield Station, and high school in the Ashburn area, to be funded in FY '09 and opened in 2010.
The Moorefield Station middle school will most likely be a two-story building to fit the site, Hatrick said.
He also called for $20,480,000 in renovations to Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, one of the county's oldest elementary schools.
It is the only renovation project Hatrick requested over the course of five years.
School Board member J. Warren Geurin (Sterling) questioned Hatrick as to why more schools aren't proposed for renovation.
"There’s only one elementary school renovation in the course of five years," he said. "What about the county’s other older school?"
Hatrick said he did not budget for additional renovations to older schools because renovations cost almost as much as a new school.
"We had a serious discussion about Catoctin Elementary School," he said. "The cost of renovations is quickly approaching the cost of a new school."
A new elementary school costs approximately $28,000,000.
A bond was passed last week to continue renovations to Blue Ridge, Seneca Ridge, Simpson and Sterling middle schools, the county's four oldest middle schools. Forest Grove and Sugarland elementary schools are undergoing renovations now.
The superintendent recommended funding a $33 million project converting C.S. Monroe Technology Center to a new alternative school, replacing the one at Douglass School in Leesburg in 2010, to open in 2012.
The 2012 budget also calls for two plots of land in western Loudoun for an elementary school and middle school to be funded by the land acquisition bond.
THE SUPERINTENDENT’S recommendations are the first step in a very long budget process, Adamo said.
The School Board will hold a public meeting on the proposed budget, Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 6:30 p.m., at the Administration Building in Ashburn.
The School Board will hold two work sessions Monday, Dec. 4 and Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m.
The School Board is scheduled to adopt the FY 2008-2012 CIP Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 6:30 p.m., at the Administration Building in Ashburn.