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PWC School Board Sets Sudley Afire

By Greg L | 25 March 2010 | Prince William County | 17 Comments

Guest post by Allison K. and Chris P.

While there have been no new developments built in the Westgate/Sudley area for 25 years, the PWC School Board is proposing that a new elementary school be built at Stonewall Middle School where the track and the bus lot stand today. For a link to the Planning Staff Report, click here.

There are three elementary schools in Westgate and Sudley that are all less than a mile apart – Westgate, Sinclair, and Sudley. Westgate is two short blocks away from the proposed new elementary school, Sinclair is approximately four blocks away, and Sudley is approximately 6 blocks away.

Lomond Drive will be home to a new turning lane and likely a new stoplight, and student drop off/access points will be located on King George Drive in Westgate and Brandon Way in Sudley. The Planning Staff will let VDOT determine if stoplights need to be installed on Sudley Manor Drive and Lomond Drive. This proposed school would impact the Level of Service on Lomond Drive. Additionally, there is a gross tonnage weight restriction for trucks on Lomond Drive.

So why haven’t you heard about the plan to put an elementary school at Stonewall Middle School? Because the law dictates that only property owners within 200 feet of the school property line be advised of the County’s plans. A plan of this scale impacts the entire community!

The Planning Commission has the power to say NO to this project. All those interested in stopping this elementary school need to contact the PWC Board of Supervisors (e-mail bocs@pwcgov.org), the PWC School Board (e-mail MJOHNS@pwcs.edu; GLATTIN@pwcs.edu; BCOVINGTON@pwcs.edu; LBELL@pwcs.edu; MOTAIGBE@pwcs.edu; DRAMIREZ@pwcs.edu; DRICHARDSON@pwcs.edu; GTRENUM@pwcs.edu), and the PWC Planning Commission (http://www.pwcgov.org/default.aspx?topic=040073003100005693).

There is a final hearing of the Planning Commission on April 7, 2010, at 7 p.m., at The James J. McCoart Building in the PWBOCS Board Chambers; 1 County Complex Ct ; Prince William, VA 22192

We are preparing a list of drawbacks and comments for the Planning Commission, a few of which are identified below:

SJVFD is currently at 156% capacity. The Planning Staff Report says a new school with 850 students (don’t forget the teachers and administrative staff as well) would have no significant impact on SJVFD.

This proposed school would benefit few, if any, students from the Westgate and Sudley communities. The one development plan (Portsmouth Station) that may have created additional housing units on the eastern side of 234 has been withdrawn. New development and overcrowded schools are on the western side of 234, where any proposed school should be located.

The School Board should consider a possible land swap or purchase with the PWCBOS or PWCPA. The site at SMS is 1.8 acres short of the required 60 acres, with another 1.25 acres on a large hill which is unusable. The total acreage does not meet the county standard for minimum land acreage for this proposed school site. In addition, there is an eighty foot wide NOVEC easement that runs between the two parcels for this plan (this is contrary to the Comprehensive Plan).

The best solution would be to find a new site that would better serve the area of growth. Elementary schools should be in the neighborhoods they serve.

The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.

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  1. Allison said on 25 Mar 2010 at 4:39 pm:
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    Thanks, Greg, for posting this. For those of you on Facebook, there is a group for those of us who are fighting this new school - No New Elementary School at Stonewall Middle.

  2. Chris said on 26 Mar 2010 at 5:54 am:
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    Thanks for posting this important issue to those of us in WestGate/Sudley.

  3. Patty said on 26 Mar 2010 at 8:32 am:
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    Thanks Allison and Chris! I will pass this on to NW members in Westgate and NW Coordinator in Sudley.

    Thanks again for getting the word out. Many neighbors on my street did not know about this.

  4. Lindy said on 26 Mar 2010 at 9:46 am:
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    Excellent work ladies!!

  5. Conservative 2 said on 26 Mar 2010 at 7:31 pm:
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    Hi Chris————– I just knew you would be out there fighting this. Stick with it.
    I can’t figure out the people in the Supes office. Guess it’s some of those who came down with Walts and they like to waste money.

    I watched the SB Meetings and I just don’t get what they are doing.
    We had our messes here years ago. Now we have schools located to close to each other and the kids are bused in from afar.

    What a way to run the system.

    Keep hounding them and tell everyone.

    Good Luck.


  6. Just Observin' said on 26 Mar 2010 at 9:07 pm:
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    Thanks to the guest posters and to you, Greg, for posting it. I found the stoplight issue most amusing - there is already a need for a stoplight at Lomond & Sudley. Ever try to make a left turn off of Sudley Manor onto Lomond during peak times?

    And the great PWCS Board planning is also not taking in account just how much a “main road” that Lomond has become…especially as it crosses into Manassas City and becomes Liberia. But then, they always look only through a microscope lens at one place, and never with binoculars to see the bigger picture.

    They could use a big set of binocs right about now!

  7. Greg L said on 26 Mar 2010 at 9:14 pm:
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    One thing about this that really irks me is that the Middle School where my daughter will soon be will have their recreational space halved (at least) as a result of this. You can’t have elementary and middle schoolers using the same athletic fields at the same time, so in addition to the fields lost due to the footprint of the school, the remaining space has to be shared among two schools.

    Nice way to shortchange my kids so people outside of the neighborhood have a place to send their kids without dealing with the pesky issues that attend constructing and operating a school. We get all the impacts, and others outside of the neighborhood get all the benefits.

    Looks like Don Richardson is once again looking after the people in his district. What a disaster of a representative he has become!

  8. Conservative 2 said on 27 Mar 2010 at 1:00 pm:
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    I hope all the citizens protect their school! To put an elementary next to a middle school with less land, someone is going to suffer.

    Learn from all the mistakes that went on in the Eastern part of the County,Even tho we went through split shifts, year round,45/15 or what ever one wants to call it, ot finally settlrd out. But now many of the elementary schools are filled with children out side of the community. The sad part is that chilren have to be bused in and they lose much of their identity. Plus the buses come by the masses into an old neighborhood.

    If the schools would be built so it would conveniently be acessable by the surrounding areas it would be so much easier.

    Learn from the mistakes that has happened in the pass.

    If one looks on Land Rover in the County Tax Records, you can find many,many pieces
    of Land owned by the BOS. Course you have to put in stretches of Roads and search
    each road as to the owner.

    When push comes to shove , not many of the Representatives look out for their District.They do what is easiet for them and what will olease the Superintendent.

  9. Roy Williams said on 27 Mar 2010 at 2:48 pm:
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    I thank you for sharing this… However, I don’t think many realize how overcrowded the schools are in the area. As a result of reading this, I just sent my e-mail to elicit SUPPORT for the proposed new school from elected officials and suggest the rest of you do the same if you care about the education of your children.

  10. Allison said on 27 Mar 2010 at 7:03 pm:
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    Please post your comments on the various drawbacks of the proposed school: traffic, safety, site plan, fire & rescue, the design of the school, the lack of adequate space for the necessary sports areas, the removal of the trees, etc. We are compiling a “Citizen Report” for the Planning Commission meeting on April 7th.

  11. L0ser said on 27 Mar 2010 at 8:34 pm:
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    Roy -

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think most people posting about this support the general idea of building a new school (as most are so overcrowded), but they don’t like the idea of putting it in this specific location.

  12. long time said on 29 Mar 2010 at 11:19 am:
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    I disagree with L0ser. The issue to me is fiscal responsibility and transparancy (not location). The Manassas School Board changed their plans and eliminated a new (replacement) school because of their budget woes. They also did not give raises last year or this year when our spend it all PW board did. We all know the amount of land is fixed and construction in a less than ideal location is a possibility. If the Supt and Board were more forthcoming perhaps there would be community support. Instead they hid behind a zoning technicality.

  13. Patty said on 29 Mar 2010 at 12:12 pm:
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    long time,

    I disagree with you. Traffic on Lomond Drive is at high capacity. With an addition of an elementry school at Stonewall Middle traffic on Lomond will be “over the top” of capacity. What do you suggest? Would you like the county to condemn properties on Lomond in order to widen the road into two lanes each way? That would cost tremendous amounts of money. Sudley Manor Drive can not take the overload of traffic either. I took the time to look up the current populations of the schools on the PWCS web site. As far as capacity of the shools in the immediate area, Westgate elementary and Sudley elementary are under capacity. I was not able to look at Sinclair’s. I understand that Sinclair is slightly over capacity. I also understand that students are bused from across 234 which makes Sinclair over their limit. It would make more sense to build additions to elementary schools on the other side of 234 to accomodate those students. Westgate and Sudley are already built out. It would make no sense at all to add an elementary school at Stonewall that would create the biggest traffic jam on Lomond Drive which would rival route 123 as the biggest bottleneck in nothern Virginia.

  14. Anonymous said on 31 Mar 2010 at 2:20 pm:
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    Funny you mention that westgate is listed as being under occupied on the school website. The county is counting the trailors, 24 plus , stacked behind the school with , yes, an outdoor trailor restroom. These should not be counted as class space in the first place. Do you realize that during winter the kids have pe in a trailor, two classae combined? I quess the west end animals are more equal than others! If we are so concerned about the increase in traffic, just guess how much will be this fall when 200 plus cars bring there kids to attend the IB program at stonewall due to recent cuts in busses. I did not hear one peep out of these nimbies.

  15. Allison said on 31 Mar 2010 at 2:42 pm:
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    Westgate has less students per classroom (by grant) and is therefore underutilized due to the number of non-English speaking students, which is the reason for the trailers.

    Sinclair is over capacity because children from Coverstone are bused across 234 to attend Sinclair.

    No new houses in 25 years - busing kids in from the other side of 234 - and no possibility of new houses, i.e., the schools will not be overcapacity in the future. The Sudley/Westgate area is already fully developed and it is an established community. Build the schools on the west side of 234 - where the new developments are located.

    And Anonymous - thank you for the additional arguments regarding increased traffic on land-locked Lomond Drive due to the School Board’s decrease in IB busing.

    By the way, what is a nimbie?

  16. Gurduloo said on 31 Mar 2010 at 3:47 pm:
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    Nimby = Not In My Backyard

    And I agree - build the school on the other side of 234, then redraw the school boundaries to take some pressure off Sinclair, Westgate and Sudley.

  17. me said on 31 Mar 2010 at 4:43 pm:
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    The spceciality busing was put back in by Walts a couple meetings ago. Guess we will see if it stays.

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