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Friday, December 16, 2011

FCPS FY 2013-17 CIP Includes Two New Elementary Schools to Alleviate Overcrowding

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has proposed its FY 2013-17 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), which includes new schools, capacity enhancements, renovations, additions, and infrastructure management over five years totaling $848.5 million; $317.3 million of which is currently funded with approved school bonds. Completion of projects as scheduled in this CIP will require a school bond referendum in 2013.

The CIP identifies the need for two new elementary schools—one of which would be located in the Groveton-Hybla Valley area and one in the Bailey’s Crossroads area of Fairfax County—to help alleviate current and projected overcrowding in those areas.

The CIP also indicates the future need for two additional elementary schools to address anticipated enrollment growth in the Fairfax-Oakton area and in western Fairfax County near Route 28 and the Dulles Airport Access Road. Enrollment in FCPS has increased by more than 14,000 students since the 2006-07 school year and is projected to rise by more than 11,000 additional students to approximately 189,000 by the 2016-17 school year.

“At this point, student enrollment growth will exceed our ability to accommodate students within our existing buildings,” said Superintendent Jack D. Dale. “This means we will have to continue relying on temporary classrooms, modular buildings, and boundary adjustments to take advantage of our current facilities. We also need to increase the allocation of capital dollars for capacity enhancement projects to keep pace with growing enrollment. Because we’re still able to take advantage of favorable construction market conditions, this would be an opportune time to raise that allocation.”

FCPS is required to stay within an annual cash-flow limit of $155 million established by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The school district has also identified an elementary school addition needed due to growth from development occurring around the Vienna Metro station. This addition will be partially funded with $1.77 million in development proffer contributions. In the five years beyond the current CIP cycle, building additions will be needed at an elementary school in the Tysons Corner area and at Jackson or Kilmer Middle school, and an increase in high school capacity will be necessary in the western portion of the county.

To help the school system address capacity issues, FCPS established a Facilities Planning Advisory Council (FPAC) in 2010, composed of 13 citizen members appointed by the Fairfax County School Board. FPAC is charged with advising and informing staff members and the Board in the development of comprehensive, long-term plans that address facilities needs. FPAC makes recommendations which include input from stakeholders. In addition, a school capacity architect works with principals to ensure the efficient use of space in schools and to review and update school capacities related to changes in school programs and modifications to facilities that take place during the school year. The school capacity architect is responsible for implementing a systematic annual survey and review of changes in school program capacities to allow FCPS staff members to better plan for future needs.

The School Board will hold a public hearing on the FY 2013-17 CIP on Monday, January 9, 2012, at 6 p.m. at Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County.    The Board has scheduled a work session on Monday, January 23, 2012, and will vote on the CIP at its business meeting on Thursday, January 26, 2012. Details about the FY 2013-17 CIP can be found at http://www.fcps.edu/fts/planning/cip.shtml.

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Note: For more information, contact Facilities Planning Services at 571-423-2330.