Major money needed to make room for student growth in Fairfax Co.

The Fairfax County School District’s Capital Improvement Plan calls for a 5-year, almost $1.1 billion cash flow to cover a long list of projects.

Fairfax County Public Schools have big capital improvement plans: Billion dollar big.

Last week, the school system’s Capital Improvement Program was released, calling for a five-year, nearly $1.1 billion cash flow to cover a long list of projects. It also looked further out to a 10-year plan, with a price tag of $2.1 billion, to keep up with student growth in the county.

“Student membership has increased by 992 students from last year to this year. The highest increase was at the high school level,” said Jessica Gillis, Coordinator of Facilities Planning.

Gillis said the area’s birthrate has been on the decline since 2008, so they are expecting a decline in elementary school membership over the next decade, but middle and high schools are currently seeing capacity pressure.

That said, many of the new construction projects highlighted are at the elementary school level.

“Our new construction — We have currently funded Northwest County Elementary School, which is on the McNair Elementary School site, and a Fairfax Upton area elementary school with the site to be determined as well as a Silver Line area elementary school with planning funds,” Gillis said.

They also funded two modular relocations and additions at Justice, Madison, and West Potomac High Schools.

And those are just the projects in the five-year plan.

“Projects beyond this five-year horizon include a future Western High School and five new and or repurposed sites including Dunn Loring, Pimmit Hills, Route 1 Elementary School, Tysons Elementary School and Virginia Hills,” said Gillis.

The total requirement for the 5-year plan is almost $1.1 billion. Gillis said they have $500 million funded and $573 million that remains unfunded.

In November, a $360 million bond referendum was approved by voters in Fairfax County.

“Capital projects that are funded by bonds that have been approved include: six elementary schools which are currently under construction; 12 elementary schools in planning; two middle schools under construction; two middle schools in planning; two high school renovations under construction; and 4 high schools in planning which include one high school renovation, Falls Church; and three high school additions,” Gillis said.

There will be a public hearing for the plan on Jan. 7, at 6 p.m. at Jackson Middle School. The school board will then have a work session before their vote on the CIP on Jan. 23.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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