Supervisors back Lansdowne high school plan

Leesburg Today

May 3, 2011

The Board of Supervisors is moving ahead with one long-debated school site decision and stepping back from another.

After meeting in closed session this morning, supervisors agreed to appropriate $215,000 to fund site assessments of land that will be need for the next western Loudoun high school and a western Loudoun middle school. It is expected that the most likely location for those facilities will be in the Lovettsville area, or at least in the northern Loudoun area north of Rt. 9.

Without taking formal action, supervisors also made two statements to make clear the direction they are headed with two other school projects.

County Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) said that the board had agreed to take no action on a proposal to purchase a portion of the 549-acre Wheatland Manor property for the future construction of an elementary school. Instead, that decision will be left to the Board of Supervisors sometime after Jan. 1, 2012, he said.

School administrators have eyed the property, located east of Rt. 287 north of Rt. 9 and owned by developer Sal Cangiano, for several years as a location for a schools complex. Plans to build a high school, middle school and elementary school on the land in 2009 spurred objection from neighbors over concerns about groundwater depletion and the impact the schools would have on the area’s agricultural uses. Also, critics charged price negotiated in the school board’s purchase contract-$9.9 million for 160 acres-was far above market value. Even after Cangiano reduced the price, the Board of Supervisors refused to authorize funding for the School Board to complete the deal. However, in their search for western Loudoun school sites, school system administrators continue to return to the property as a preferred location.

Also Tuesday, Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) announced the board would support the acquisition of a portion of the National Conference Center property in Lansdowne for the construction of a new Ashburn-area high school. Waters said the board had concluded the NCC site was the best available to meet the needs of the surrounding communities and its students and that the work would continue “diligently” on the contract for the property. Waters added that the county would hold a community meeting to discuss the project and its impact on neighbors in late May or early June.

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