High Schools Shift Gears For Coming Year

High Schools Shift Gears For Coming Year

With all eyes on the new south county high-school site, Burke-Springfield high schools are renovating or incorporating portable classrooms to deal with the increasing student population in the interim.

Hayfield Secondary

With over 40 trailers filling the grounds, students and staff are glad to be entering the final year of renovations at Hayfield Secondary. The renovations that are already complete include a refurbished auditorium, guidance suite, two sub-schools, the clinic, the career center, boys and girls locker rooms and several classrooms. The courtyard in the front of the school between the vocational education section and the main part of the school was transformed into classroom space. The completion date for all renovations is August 2004.

High-school math teacher Heather Schrager was there before the renovations started.

"I think what we can see is definitely an improvement," Schrager said. "I'm looking forward to a new start, and I'm fortunate enough to be using one of the new classrooms."

Parent Erin Lynch's son Joey Kane is starting as a freshman this year. Joey's been at Hayfield through the middle-school years as well and has endured some respiratory problems, possibly from the construction dust, Lynch thought.

"My son has been allergic to the dust," she said.

Lewis Rauch, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) director of design and construction, noted the special attention they pay with renovation schools. Dust partitions are put in place.

"When we renovate, we're actually cordoned off. We basically disconnect the portion that's being renovated from the rest of the building," he said.

FCPS has a field representative on-site at every school that's undergoing renovations to make sure there are no problems, and he has not received any complaints about Hayfield this year. Rauch did remember a brick saw in another school about 10 years ago, which blew the dust into a vent that went into the school.

"We immediately made arrangements to get it moved," he said.

Lynch is happy with the rest of the renovations at Hayfield, though.

"The entrance looks fantastic," Lynch added.

Two teachers at Hayfield received recognition this year. Music teacher Dan Helm was a finalist for the Robert R. Spillane award, and marketing teacher Dianne Mace won the Marketing Teacher of the Year award.

Hayfield Secondary will be operating under new hours this year. The school day begins at 7:20 a.m. and ends at 2:05 p.m. New courses include advanced technology, advanced placement psychology and teacher cadet. Fifty-four new teachers have joined the staff that will instruct Hayfield's 2,507-student body. Back-to-School Night is Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m.

Lake Braddock Secondary

Lake Braddock is also on the county renovation schedule this year. With construction starting in spring 2004, very few new things were added to the school over the summer. Guidance counselor Ginny Broadbent realized the renovation process is lengthy with a school the size of Lake Braddock.

"We're going to be renovated next year," she said. "It's a three- or four-year process."

One thing that was added was a new track facility, according to athletic director Mark Martino.

"We got a brand-new track scoreboard," he said.

There were 22 new high-school teachers this year and 2,630 students.

Back-to-School Night is Monday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m., and on Wednesday, Sept. 3, they are holding a student athlete and college recruiting night at 7:30 p.m.


Round 3 began this summer in Lee High School's renovation process. This is the final phase, which will complete the whole school renovation. John Scott, construction liaison for Fairfax County Public Schools, is involved with the project.

"It's really been a busy summer, they started a two-story addition," Scott said.

As part of Phase III, which will open this year, additions include the a renovated gymnasium, six new classrooms, a theater, an orchestra and band room, a practice room, a renovated choral room, and storage. The cafeteria will be done next summer, and that will complete the project.

"When we're done, this will be a totally renovated high school," Scott said.

Phase I of the project was done a few years ago and included some art areas and general utility upgrades. Phase II targeted the library and was completed last April.

Karen Booker has daughters Kisha and Constance at Lee. She saw the need for renovations. "Compared to all the rest of the schools, they were in need of repairs," Booker said.

Sophie Tran will be a senior this year at Lee. The new library came in handy for her last year.

"We had a lot of projects that required the computer labs," she said.

Back-to-School night at Lee is Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m.

West Springfield

Besides one additional trailer on school grounds, West Springfield High School is trying out a new language learning system, according to principal David Smith. It's a pilot program for this approach in the county.

"We did install a state-of-the-art language lab. It allows teachers to work with kids individually while in a full class," Smith said.

They have 26 new teachers, which Smith said was a regular turnover rate, and 2,280 students this year. Although there were no boundary changes, "We are expected to have more kids," Smith added.

The Back-to-School Night is Wednesday, Sept. 24, with a musical program starting at 6:45 p.m. before the regular activities start. Due to limited parking at West Springfield, Smith recommends that parents carpool or seek alternative methods of getting to the school.