NCC site purchase final

from Loudoun Times Mirrr

Feb. 14, 2012

By Trevor Baratko

By taking no action on the National Conference Center site purchased for a new high school in Lansdowne, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday effectively advanced plans to locate the school at the controversial NCC site.

Barring a last-minute about face from the board, the contract for the NCC site will be final by week’s end.

Nineteen residents spoke in opposition to the current Lansdowne location for “HS-8” during Tuesday’s meeting.

One person spoke in favor.

Still, the public input did nothing to immediately change the minds of the eight supervisors. Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) was absent from the meeting due to an illness.

With no vote from the board to extend the due diligence period an additional 30 days, and no plans to “opt out” of the contract with NCC, the property purchase will be finalized Feb. 17, when the already-extended due diligence phase expires.

The citizens disenchanted with the NCC site presented one objection after another at the supervisors – the more than $20 million price tag for the 45-acre property makes for a poor investment; the acreage is far too small to locate the planned high school; establishments that serve alcohol surround the location; and the land itself isn’t suited for a school from an environmental standpoint.

But Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), whose district covers the Lansdowne site, defended the board’s decision to move forward. From his own “polling,” more than 70 percent of the affected community support the school at the NCC site.

To complete construction on the new school by 2015, the project needs to move forward, Buona said.

Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) also made his view known, saying he feels satisfied the board has done the necessary research and due diligence.

The previous Board of Supervisors approved the NCC property purchase in late 2011. Thorough inspections of the property have been completed in the months since, said York.

At the end of the day, York voiced, the NCC site was the cheapest and most suitable location for a new high school in in the Ashburn area.

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