Ashburn and Dulles South: A Look Toward 2007

Ashburn and Dulles South: A Look Toward 2007

New projects, schools and developments on the horizon in the coming year.

Just as this past year has, 2007 is shaping up to transformation the landscape of the Ashburn and Dulles South communities. With new schools openings, new communities being developed and new services coming to the area, residents can be sure that the coming year will usher change into their neighborhoods.

<sh>Expanding Education

<bt>The fall of 2007 will mean many Ashburn and South Riding students will experience new schools, principals, teachers and friends. In the Dulles South area, Arcola Elementary School will open its doors again, pulling students from Pinebrook, Hutchison Farm and Little River elementary schools. Arcola is being built to hold 875 students and, under the adopted boundaries, is expected to open with 524 students.

In the Ashburn area, Rosa Lee Carter Elementary School, the first county school to be named after an African-American woman, will open as well. Student enrollment at Belmont Station, Cedar Lane, Hillside, Legacy and Mill Run will see changes once Rosa Lee Carter opens. Sterling Elementary School Principal Michele Freeman has accepted the principalship for Rosa Lee Carter and began that position Jan. 1. Rosa Lee Carter is expected open with more than 500 students, relieving both Legacy and Mill Run, which experienced overcrowding during the 2006-2007 school year.

The School Board adopted the boundaries for Arcola and Rosa Lee Carter elementaries Dec. 12, after months of planning, public input and working closely with residents.

The main issue facing the School Board, the schools' planning department and parents during the boundary adoption process was the number of school moves children in those areas will have to make as the community continues to grow.

"We really want to minimize the number of moves kids have to do," Sam Adamo, the director of Planning and Legislative Services for Loudoun County Public Schools, said.

Robert DuPree (Dulles), chairman of the School Board, said he was really proud of the way the planning department approached the boundary process for the two elementary schools.

"They are trying to be very cognizant of the fact that these are children," he said.

In addition to the two elementary schools, the Ashburn area will be home to a new middle school next fall. This past spring, the boundary plans for Stone Hill Elementary School were hotly contested among parents during a series of public hearings. The school will open with 508 students.

The school's adopted boundaries will move Ashburn Farm, Ryan’s Ridge and Farmwell neighborhoods from Farmwell Station to Eagle Ridge Middle School. Brambleton, Loudoun Valley Estates and Village of Waxpool neighborhoods will move from Eagle Ridge to Stone Hill Middle School. Students living in the Regency neighborhood will move from Farmwell Station to Stone Hill Middle School.

Under the plan Belmont Ridge Middle School will be home to 996 students in the 2007-08 school year. Farmwell Station will begin the 2007-08 school year with 1,274 students, 115 students overcapacity.

Beginning July 3, Rodney Moore, a former principal in Fairfax County, took over as principal for the new middle school. The Loudoun County resident is excited about the prospect of opening the newest county middle school.

"I felt honored that they felt confident enough in me to trust me with this school," he said.

<sh>Mixed Together

<bt>As 2006 was filled with decisions over large Comprehensive Plan amendments, 2007 will also be filled with land-use decisions that could alter how Loudoun is developed in the years to come.

One Loudoun, a mixed-use community that began its public process at the end of 2006 could come before the board for approval or denial as soon as January 2007. The large development project is located at the southeast corner of Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway and its developer is promising to bring a variety of uses to the people of Loudoun.

"This is a dynamic project for a dynamic and growing portion of the county," Tony Calabrese, a partner with Cooley Godward Kronish who represents the developer, said. "This is the right time and right location for creating [a mixed-use development.]"

If approved, the original proposal would allow for the development of 1,569 homes, including multifamily units, single-family townhouses, single-family homes and affordable dwelling units. The proposal also includes up to 4,439,200 square feet of office, commercial and retail.

In December the developer made some concessions to Supervisors' concerns, dropping the number of residential units to 1,026, 83 of which will be affordable dwelling units.

The development would also include a church site, more allotted civic space and a central, open-air amphitheater and stage, which would be open to the public.

During a November public hearing, several citizens spoke out in favor of the development, saying residents were looking forward to having a place nearby where they could spend the day shopping, eating and doing things with their families and friends.

"For the tens of thousands of Loudoun County residents, One Loudoun will enrich and engage their lives as a place to live, work, recreate," Ashburn resident Roberta Milberg said. "We need something better than low-rise condo centers and strip retail misnamed town centers."

<sh>For Book Lovers

<bt>While the plans for Gum Spring Library, which will be located at the corner of Route 50 and in Stone Ridge, developed through 2006, leaders of Loudoun's libraries expect 2007 to be an important year for the future of the library.

The library is expected to go to a public hearing by November 2007 and is scheduled to open in July 2008.

Money is the most important aspect of opening a library, and while there are already some funds for the new facility, more are needed.

Douglas Henderson, director of the Loudoun County Public Library, said there is approximately $7.6 million in the budget for the library, but an additional estimated $3.5 million will be needed for books.

"All we get is the shell," he said in April. "Everything inside comes from the bond and referendum."

In an attempt to give residents the best facility possible, one of the biggest considerations for the new space was how to encourage teens and young adults to come and spend time at the library.

"Surveys with kids have shown that the reason they don't use libraries is because they don't have any space," Linda Holtslander, assistant director of the Loudoun County Public Library, said.

To accommodate teenagers, the Gum Spring Library will have a large teen library on the upper level complete with computers, reference materials, workstations and all book formats. There are also two group meeting areas set aside for study groups and even some computer stations have room for more than one person to sit.

As plans for the library move forward next year, the Loudoun County Public Library hopes to make it better and more advanced than the libraries that went before it. For each library there are three set standards, Henderson said, the total amount of square footage, the number of books per person and the amount of space per person. However, Loudoun libraries have to be built to keep up with the growth of the county, he added.

For the residents of Dulles South, they are very excited by the opportunity to have their own library.

"We need a library," Laura Tekrony, a representative of Families for Dulles South, an independent group of citizens dedicated to preserving the quality of life in southern Loudoun, said. "A lot of us have to go all the way to Chantilly, Fairfax or even Middleburg."