The Broad Run High School community will be the next Loudoun County public school to undergo much needed renovations to solve overcrowding.
Following the model of renewing the county's oldest high schools, like Loudoun Valley and Loudoun County which are currently under or getting ready for construction, Broad Run have been approved for a renovation and addition to better handle the number of students in their attendance zones.
The renovations and expansion of the more than 44-year-old school were much needed as the cafeteria was too small, rodents were frequently destroying supplies and trailers littered the property to handle its allotment of students.
The Loudoun County School Board approved the fiscal 2015-2020 Capital Improvements Program with a unanimous vote, finalizing weeks of debate and research.
With the approval of the CIP, funding for the project was moved to fiscal 2015. In the original proposal, the project wasn't on the five year schedule.
School Board member Kevin Kuesters (Broad Run) motioned to move the Broad Run project to the fiscal 2015 year with a total cost of $26.4 million.
Mr. Kuesters explained the purpose of the project.
“The purpose of this project is to expand the core building facilities of Broad Run High School to serve the current and future student populations of approximately 1,600 on a permanent basis,” Mr. Kuesters said. “It will renovate older buildings and athletic facilities to bring them up to current standards to serve a 1,600 student high school.”
School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) agreed that this project needs to be moved forward.
“I think this is a project that is needed as we have gone through a period where we couldn't build new schools fast enough to meet the pent up need. This project is an important one to put in [to the CIP],” Mr. Hornberger said. “It is right to go to the third oldest school after dealing with Loudoun County and Loudoun Valley that frankly has seen a tremendous amount of student population going through it. That has put wear and tear on a building and wear and tear on a community.”
Members of the School Board had originally planned to vote on the CIP Dec. 10 but postponed the vote due to questions surrounding Broad Run's extensive remodel.
Staff added a window replacement, new restroom for the stadium, a team building for the stadium, an orchestra room, a new school interior upgrade, updated auditorium and roof replacement to make the total cost increase $10 million.
Also added was the removal of the fueling depot used by the county school buses to make way for a 80-space parking lot to handle additional student vehicles.
Kevin Lewis, assistant superintendent for Support Services, explained at the Dec. 10 meeting why the additional items were brought into the overall scope of the Broad Run project.
“After our last meeting we went back through and evaluated the Broad Run High School renovation project with respect to some comments from board members as well as from the public,” Mr. Lewis said. “The things in the additional scope are items or things that were discussed and we have gone back and added those to the project so we can have that discussion with you here tonight.”
The Broad Run community had hoped to get a second turf practice field included in the renovation, but Mr. Kuesters, as well as his colleagues on the School Board, could not justify paying for a second turf field.
“I can't really come before the Loudoun County taxpayers in good conscience after I have been saying for a few years now that our focus needs to be on turf fields with lights so we get the most use from them, except when it benefits my constituents, so I need to be consistent there,” Mr. Kuesters said. “I also do not feel there is enough support from my fellow school board members and the supervisors.”
Additional CIP projects approved
While the Broad Run project was the biggest mover in the CIP, there were several other important projects in the plan that were approved with the vote.
The most pertinent of the remaining projects on the CIP include the design and construction funding for the Loudoun Advanced Technology Academy.
This project will allow Loudoun to sever ties with Fairfax County's Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology.
Upon its completion, LATA will be able to serve Loudoun as a magnet school, much like TJHSST does currently.
The project has a total price tag of $114,640,000 million. That covers both the design and construction of the project.
The CIP also covers the financing for six new schools.
In fiscal 2015, ES-27 and MS-9 along with the design portion of LATA headline the year's construction projects.
Fiscal 2016 will have only LATA being constructed.
No schools are scheduled to be constructed in fiscal 2017.
Fiscal 2018 has two projects on the agenda including HS-11 and the conversion of Monroe Center into an alternative school.
Fiscal 2019 has ES-28 and MS-7 on the docket and HS-9 is scheduled to be constructed in 2020.
For extended coverage:
Technology Academy, six schools headline CIP
Broad Run at front of public Capital Improvement concerns
Broad Run shows its force during CIP work session
Capital Improvements Plan delayed for Broad Run Evaluation