The 13th Prince William County high school will
have space for approximately 500 additional students, with a design based modified
version of Colgan and Patriot High Schools, rather than the older Battlefield
The change from the Battlefield design, which had been
favored in three previous votes, came in a rare special School Board meeting shortly
after the regularly scheduled Board session Wednesday night.
Board members voted 5-3 to move to the new design in
exchange for a written assurance
from five members of the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) that they will vote
for the county to provide additional funding to cover much of the increased
cost of the larger PRICE design of the school. Additionally, the letter pledges
$10.6 million in additional 2017 county funding for use toward School
Board-designated construction or renovation projects to relieve school
overcrowding on the east side of the county.
More details of the deal may emerge when School Board and BOCS members
meet January 10. Questions emerged during the School Board Debate concerning
the true value of promised BOCS funding. The deal directly provides $10.6
million for eastern county projects. Additional funds will be paid out over
time to cover debt service—similar to a mortgage payment—for the added costs of
the PRICE model instead of the previously selected Battlefield design.
Some School Board members also hope to get assurances that BOCS
money pledged in the deal will not come out of the hundreds of millions PWCS
receives through the county revenue sharing agreement that funds about half of
the School Division’s annual budget.
The most immediate impact of the vote will be to shift
construction planning toward the PRICE model of the new school that was first proposed in 2015. School Facilities
staff worked with architects, blending the openness of Patriot and Colgan High schools
with additional classroom space, while simplifying the architecture. Its name stands for Patriot Redesign Increasing Capacity Effectively, because the resulting
cost-per-student is less that of duplicating Patriot or using the Battlefield
Construction of the new school has been delayed several
times due to complications in finding a site and agreeing on a design. Work
most begin soon to meet the latest anticipated opening date in 2021. The new
school is planned for the Stone Haven tract and will have an expected capacity
of 2,557 students.
The School Board’s special meeting was convened at the
request of Gainesville representative Alyson Satterwhite and acting Brentsville
member Shawn Brann. Most of the Special Meeting was televised live and is available On Demand at pwcstv.com Recording and broadcast of the of session
began only after it was evident that a sufficient number of Board Members were
present to constitute a quorum.