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Loudoun County School Board authorizes land purchase for Dulles North elementary school

The Loudoun County School Board voted Tuesday to authorize the purchase of land for elementary school 31 set to open in fall 2019 in the Dulles North area.

The land acquisition is expected to cost $3.7 million. Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) said it was important to move the project forward in order for LCPS to open the school on time. Finding an adequate piece of land within the time frame has placed restrictions on the school system, he added.

The price of the land is affected by the community and putting schools in communities that are more developed is more difficult than in undeveloped areas, which has been the challenge in the northern part of Dulles North, Hornberger said.

Assistant Superintendent Kevin Lewis said Tuesday was the last possible moment for board members to approve the contract and maintain the schedule.

Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) said he would abstain in the vote due to lack of information on land value per acreage. Debbie Rose (Algonkian) said that information had been presented to the board in past closed meetings.

Joy Maloney (Broad Run) said this school will be in her district, and she’s heard from community members that the site is not optimal so she was torn on supporting the project. Residents, she said, have brought up safety concerns of having the school along Belmont Ridge Road.

Staff said it is working to make the site as safe as possible, and Maloney acknowledged that staff is doing the best it can with the options it has.

The school will potentially enable full-day kindergarten in the area, which is a positive of the project, Maloney said.

The motion passed 8-1, with DeKenipp in opposition.

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