After two years of review and sometimes-intense debate, plans for a new Loudoun County high school in Lansdowne are moving forward.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted 8-1 during a public hearing Tuesday to approve the land use application for the new school, known as HS-8, to be built at the National Conference Center (NCC) site. The lone dissenting vote came from Supervisor Ken Reid (R-Leesburg).
The NCC site, which the county purchased for slightly more than $20 million in early 2012, also had the OK from Loudoun County’s planning commission.
More than 25 Loudoun residents on hand during Tuesday’s meeting provided passionate views from both sides of the school site debate.
Some parents pleaded for the plans to continue at the NCC location, expressing hopes for a convenient and safe neighborhood school children can walk to.
Other residents voiced concerns over traffic and safety at the busy intersection of Belmont Ridge Road and Route 7, as well as the residential homes immediately surrounding the Lansdowne site. Moreover, some citizens claimed there has not been ample notice or information provided on the county’s construction and school placement plans.
Yet aside from Reid and Vice Chair Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) – though Clarke ultimately voted in favor of approving the land use application – the supervisors weren’t buying the argument that the decision was made in haste.
Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) and Supervisors Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) and Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) were vocal in their support for green-lighting the application Tuesday. With the time line already tight to get the school open by 2015, it was crucial to bring the issue to a vote as soon as possible, they said.
Additionally, with several of Loudoun County’s high schools – including Tuscarora, Broad Run and Briar Woods – already at or near capacity, streamlining the new school is critical, Buona noted.
Locating HS-8 at the NCC site, Buona said, is the “right thing to do for our children.”
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