After just one work session in the fiscal 2015 to 2020 Capital Improvement Plan process, it's apparent what construction project will be the most hotly contested.
Dominating the Nov. 18 discussion public hearing was the Broad Run High School classroom addition and renewal and the installation of synthetic turf at eight high schools.
A total of eight speakers addressed the School Board, all stating their case for Broad Run's expansion.
Both projects are listed on the plans for placement or discussion. Their funding year has yet to be determined.
Robyn Griffis, a social studies teacher at Broad Run for 12 years, was in favor of supporting the addition to one of the oldest high schools in Loudoun.
“Broad Run is in much need of renovation. Our school was built over 40 years ago and consequently there are many areas in disrepair,” Griffis said. “We are somewhat frustrated that many schools have received renovations already and they are rather young including Freedom High School on our last referendum.
“As a teacher in this county I hear the word equity a lot and this is how I am supposed to treat my students. I only ask that the same is given to our students at Broad Run. It's time for us to have our renovations,” Griffis said.
Griffis concluded she hoped the board would make the projects at Broad Run a priority.
Additionally, Fred Reitzel, a member of the Broad Run Athletic Boosters, said he felt the fields shouldn't be a School Board only project but other funding avenues should also be responsible.
“Our ticket booth is about falling down. Our press box had water damage and is about falling down. The baseball press box is also at the end,” Reitzel said. “Creating a funding program where that becomes a program put in place. I don't know why the School Board has to fund that. I think you ought to be able to get funding from Parks and Recreation and other agencies withing the county government.”
School Board member Debbie Rose (Algonkian) noted she is most interested in a project that will best provide students with the atmosphere they need to be successful.
“I am very supportive of trying to find a way to get adequate classrooms and the renovations necessary for that where there is going to be an impact on student education and on the quality of what is happening inside the classroom,” Rose said.
Rose went on to explain to Broad Run supporters that there are other important projects and issues the board must consider.
“There are really some tough decisions we have to make. We have to find a facility to move forward with an expanded [Academy of Science] or Monroe Tech or the Loudoun version of T.J.,” Rose said. “This is all part of how are we going to slice up the pie. I am going to be very supportive of classroom renovations and additions, but I am not sure that this time a press box or concession stand are things that should be supported by the local community there. That is just my thoughts right now.”
Under the currently proposed CIP, which was introduced Nov. 12, the total cost of all projects is $627,470,000.
That total includes the construction and design of six new schools – two elementary, two middle and two high schools. Also included is the highly-anticipated Loudoun Advanced Technology Academy.