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Area schools will be bursting at the seams
Draft plan for new schools in Spotsylvania calls for half-dozen new buildings

Date published: 11/16/2005

By KELLY HANNON

Earlier this month, voters gave Spotsylvania County permission to borrow $41 million for school projects.

The School Board has begun looking at a timeline for spending the money.

A suggested lineup for school construction projects has a half-dozen new schools opening by 2012.

The rapid building schedule is set to keep pace with unprecedented enrollment growth in the 23,871-student school division.

This fall, 923 new students enrolled in Spotsylvania schools, more than any other Fredericksburg-area district. Stafford County schools enrolled 402 new pupils.

By 2010, Spotsylvania expects to have 28,000 students in public schools.

School staff drafted the capital improvement plan and presented it at a School Board meeting Monday night.

For now, the list is just a proposal.

School Board members will hold a work session to discuss it further on Nov. 21, with a preliminary vote scheduled for a Dec. 12 meeting, and a final vote in March.

Martin Wilder, chairman of the School Board, said significant changes could be made at the work session.

"I'm sure we will be looking at this quite a bit before taking formal action on it," Wilder said.

The $41 million for school construction projects and major purchases, like school buses, was part of an overall voter-approved bond package. The county can borrow $277.7 million to fund transportation, public safety, park and library projects.

The school bond passed with the greatest margin of "yes" votes--64 percent.

However, the $41 million is just enough money to launch the projects in the capital improvement plan, not to finish them. The total cost to build everything in the plan, if approved in its draft version, would be $258 million.

Two projects in the plan are scheduled to open next fall: Post Oak Middle School, a $25 million replacement for the deteriorating John J. Wright Middle School, and a $3.1 million, eight-classroom addition at Harrison Road Elementary.

These projects already are under way.

Next, new elementary schools would open in 2007, 2008 and 2009, with the locations to be determined.


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