Overcrowded Prince William Co. schools open with fewer portable classrooms

prince william county trailer
Battlefield High School is opening the school year with 21 portable classrooms — the most in Prince William County. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Fast-growing Prince William County, Virginia, opens the new school year with fewer portable classrooms than last year, but faces a long-term challenge to have enough schools for the number of students.

Prince William County is Virginia’s second-largest county by population, behind Fairfax County, and is the state’s second-fastest-growing county, behind Loudoun County.

According to Prince William County Schools, the system has 184 portable classrooms in the 2019-2020 school year, down 22, from last year’s 206 trailers.

The school with the most portable classrooms is Battlefield High School, in Haymarket. Opened in 2004, Battlefield has 21 trailers wedged between permanent brick wings of the school. Last year, the school had 18 portables.

Patriot High School, in Nokesville, has 20 portable classrooms.

For middle schools, Fred M. Lynn Middle School in Woodbridge has the most trailers — 10, followed by Woodbridge and Graham Park.

At the elementary school level, Loch Lomond, in Manassas, and Marumsco Hills, in Woodbridge, each have six portable classrooms.

Prince William County was able to reduce the number of portable classrooms from last year, with the opening of John D. Jenkins Elementary School, in Woodbridge, and the completion of an addition at Stonewall Middle School, in Manassas.

Last year, Stonewall required seven portable classrooms — the new addition brings that number to zero.

A joint committee of the county school board and county supervisors has been meeting to figure out how to fund a $174 plan to eliminate all of the county’s trailers within 10 years.

Prince William County’s 13th high school is under construction, in the Bristow/Gainesville area, which would eliminate the 48 trailers in use at Battlefield, Patriot and Stonewall Jackson. The high school is expected to open for the 2021-2022 calendar year.

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