HS-8 design presented after third redesign

Leesburg Patch

Nov. 18 2011

HS-8 staff report

The third iteration of a design for HS-8, the new high school planned for Lansdowne, was unveiled Nov. 16 at a public meeting held by Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) at Belmont Ridge Middle School (BRMS).

“We’re sorta going to be the new neighbor in town,” said Sam Adamo, executive director for planning and legislative services for LCPS, as he narrated a digital slide show (see PDF).

The latest plan rotates the school building and moves it closer to Kipheart Drive “at the cost of more green infrastructure,” Adamo said. The 95-acre HS-8 site includes a 45.2-acre parcel now under contract for purchase from the National Conference Center (NCC) for $20 million.

Of that 45 acres, Adamo said, 24 acres is developable, putting the mathematical per-acre purchase cost at $442,478 and the effective cost of each developable acre at $833,333.

To complete the site, the county will take 18 developable acres from a 35 acre-parcel at BRMS and 12 acres from Lansdowne Sports Park, originally proffered by the developer of Lansdowne.

Land owned by the Lansdowne HOA will be needed to widen Upper Belmont Place and install a roundabout at Riverpoint Drive.

“The biggest contributor to the right of way will be the Lansdowne HOA,” Adamo said.

A lighted high school football stadium with year-round artificial turf and competition baseball and softball fields were shifted to the east side of the NCC parcel.

A surface parking lot separates the academic and sporting areas of the HS-8 campus. A proposed parking deck was scuttled at a cost savings of $7.5 million, but a football practice field and one small soccer field were also eliminated because there is no space for them.

The NCC will still construct a parking deck to replace surface parking lots on the acreage sold for the school site and the NCC will continue to function after the school opens.

The new plan removes the parking lots, playground, picnic shelter, tot lot, and public fields that comprise the sports park on Kipheart Drive. The playground and fields will not be replaced, Adamo said.

The new plan has as many as four traffic circles, including one at the intersection of Kipheart and Carradoc Farm Terrace, to ease the flow of buses and cars during the 30-minute interval between start times of the middle and high schools and provide traffic-calming effects, Adamo said.

HS-8 will accommodate 1,600 students.

“We are building this to accommodate students in Ashburn,” Adamo said. “Broad Run High School needs relief now. This school can’t open soon enough.”

He said 50 to 55 percent of its students will come from Lansdowne and the others from Broad Run, which is over capacity and has no room to expand.

“There’s maybe a need for a slight tweak or two Stone Bridge [High School],” Adamo said.

Lansdowne residents who expressed concern about speeding, traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, noise, visual impact, light pollution, cost, and suitability of the project were invited to form a committee to meet with Adamo to discuss their ideas for managing those effects. Many are displeased with the plan.

“You are putting a high school on a huge cul-de-sac with the National Conference Center behind it,” said one Lansdowne resident. “You really have a mess, in my humble opinion. You are trying to put 10 pounds of sand in a five-pound sack.”

Broad Run Supervisor Lori Waters said the Lexington Seven site on Route 7 was not considered for HS-8 because “There is a four-lane splitting the site. I did not think it would be safe.”

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