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Weller's Planned 2020 Expansion
At the October PTO meeting, there was discussion about Weller being slated to expand in 2020. I reached out to Ashburn District Representative to the Loudoun County School Board, Eric Hornberger who was kind enough to send an extremely thorough response to my inquiry. We have invited Eric to a future PTO meeting to discuss this in more detail..... The below is directly from Eric.
The planned three-classroom expansion of SWES is part of a broader elementary school classroom expansion initiative within the school division that began a few years ago. It is essentially increasing the size of all similarly designed elementary schools in areas of the county where additional capacity are anticipated to be needed, either because of continued residential development and/or the recent expansion of full-day kindergarten throughout the school division. The elementary schools built using the same 44 classroom prototype would gain a similar three-classroom addition to bring them up to a total of 47 classrooms. This is the number of classrooms in elementary schools under the last single-story ES prototype in use within the school division beginning with Cardinal Ridge ES which opened several years ago (LCPS has since gone to a slightly larger – 48 classroom – two-story prototype that is still in use for all new construction). Six such three-classroom additional project on the prior 44 classroom ES prototype have already been successfully implemented at Arcola, Creighton’s Corner, Legacy, Liberty, Pinebrook, and Rosa Lee Carter elementary schools. These projects were funded in FY 2017, began in Spring 2017, and were completed in the Summer of 2018. These additions have enabled the school division to respond continued growth in the county’s student population while also simultaneously implementing expanding access to full-day kindergarten.
Both Dominion Trail ES (DTES) and SWES are the next schools to be expanded under this broader plan, though DTES is a much smaller school but with identified space for expansion. The planned additions of DTES and SWES are to be funded in FY 2020 and anticipated to be in use by the start of the 2022-23 school year. There are also potential plans for more schools to get three-classroom additions, though as of yet, have not been designated to specific schools and would likely not be of a similar prototype to SWES (like DTES). Planning for these all these projects, including SWES, can be found in the latest adopted Capital Improvement Program (CIP) at the following link:
Specifically you can find the identified future elementary expansion projects on pages 72-73 in the adopted FY 2019-2024 CIP. Additionally, you can see the projected student enrollment levels and anticipated capacity utilization impact of the proposed expansion of both DTES and SWES on page 128.
As already indicated above, the design plan for the three-classroom expansion project at SWES is similar to that used for several projects that have already been implemented for schools of the same 44 classroom prototype design. The schematic of that design can be found at the link below but may be in reverse, depending on the specific physical layout of the existing school:
Earlier this year, the Superintendent preliminarily proposed to the Board a switching of the proposed expansion from SWES to Hutchinson Farm ES. Very little information was provided as rationale for the change. Following my and other Board members concerns over this and other proposed preliminary changes to the current CIP, the Superintendent withdrew his preliminary proposal to await re-analysis using the latest student enrollment data and associated student growth projections generated from the student counts from the start of the 2018-2019 school year. This is the typical process used in making revisions to the CIP which is done annually in the Fall. The School Board is anticipated to begin the process of its CIP revision in late October or early November with the Superintendent’s Proposed 2020-2025 CIP based on the latest student enrollment and growth projection data.
The official 2018-2019 enrollment numbers are being shared with the School Board at its regular business meeting tomorrow night. To see the data that will be presented, please see the link below:
You will see from the data that will be presented, enrollment at SWES is slightly greater than anticipated at 817 students in a facility with a capacity of 904 students (currently 90% of capacity). This is 17 students greater than the enrollment projections for the school in October 2017 and will likely increase previously forecast growth projections going forward for the school within the next CIP. In turn, this should increase the eventual need for the classroom addition, not decrease it. However, depending on the realized enrollment and growth projections at other schools, the prioritization of the project could be impacted in both the Superintendent’s Proposed CIP this Fall and the next CIP ultimately adopted by the School Board later this year.
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