Lansdowne High School Battle Continues

By Loudoun Insider

Since it has seeped into my post below, let’s give it its own post.  Leebsurg Today has a good article on the recent Planning Commission meeting.


  • LowdowneVA says:

    The appalling thing that no one seems to understand is that the county wants to “amend” Lansdowne’s proffers to replace a state of the art sports-plex next to the Potomac River with impervious surface: a 275,000 square foot building, artificial turf, a parking deck for the NCC, and huge parking lots for students and teachers. Initially the Public Schools said the high school would be built on the NCC property that the county is paying $20 million for, but last November, the school was “flipped” to replace Lansdowne Sports Park. It has Ashburn Youth Football League’s two home fields that have taken 8 years and $300,000 to develop into prime playing condition. Kids from all over the county play on those fields. They are heavily used, especially in fall and spring, concurrent with school playing seasons.
    Where will these kids play when the Sports Park is gone ? Nobody knows and if there is a plan, no one will say so.
    One thing parents and coaches are clear about is that sharing fields with a high school, as suggested by LCPS Planning Director Sam Adamo, does not satisfy the demand for consistent practice time, games, clinics and tournaments in the very programs that develop players for high school.
    This power point on You Tube has the background:

  • BlackOut says:

    That reminds me Lowdowne, I wonder what happen to the business guy who sought and received approval for a sports complex along Belmont Ridge about a half mile from Rt 7? It was to be on the creek side of Belmont Ridge. It sounded like a cool project at the time.

  • LowdowneVA says:

    That was a great plan although it did shift the cost of playing fields to the taxpayers who seem to expect government to provide them. The land went into foreclosure, according to signs on the property. Dang economy.

  • Loudoun Moron says:

    Come, we shouldn’t build a sorely needed high school because we might lose some flag football fields used by youth? BFD. Let the kids find something else to do.

    I understand that it sucks to lose those fields, but that argument against this school has to be WAY down the list.

  • Loudoun Moron says:

    Yeah, the owners of that property went bankrupt per my understanding.

  • LowdowneVA says:

    “Sorely needed?” That’s one of the things that calls for scrutiny. The public schools had a surfeit of 568 seats in high schools last June, before Champe opened. HS6 is ready to be built. The instant question is: Why is HS8 being fast-tracked ahead of HS6 when the population growth is along the Loudoun County Parkway corridor? Why not at least wait until the elementary school redistricting in this area to see where the population stands and how the feeders line up?
    Moron, you really need to drop by Lansdowne Sports Park between 8:30 and 1:30 tomorrow so as not to sound uninformed.
    The county did its last “exhaustive” land inventory before the recession. This is the time they should be shopping for school sites and ball yards.

  • Kids don't matter? says:

    Hey, Moron. Thanks for pointing out that there is a very long list of reasons why the high school should NOT be built on that site. Personally, I put the destruction of completed proffers very high on the list. Is nothing sacred?

  • Loudoun Moron says:

    Thank you, the argument to not build due to existing overcapacity is a valid one. I am not well versed in the HS capacity numbers; just have the anecdotes that Stone Bridge, Broad Run and Briar Woods are over capacity, and in that regard the need to relieve some of that overcrowding is needed.

    I am fully aware that the fields on a Saturday morning are swarmed with youth sports. My child plays youth sports.

    The need to provide quality education has to outweigh the desire to play organized sports at a youth level. It’s great to have both. Ideally, you have both. I do not know the feasibility of having both in this instance. But there have to be better arguments against building this school (or building it in this location) than “we’ll lose fields that 5 year olds use for flag football”.

    I’m still trying to learn about all the redistricting stuff and the history behind past decisions and the future plans that will get discussed this fall, but when I hear arguments against building educational facilities because it will harm youth sports league, my BS alarm goes off.

  • Paul says:

    “Commissioner Charles Douglas (Blue Ridge) also asked for more understanding about the location within a residential neighborhood.”

    With all due respect to Mr. Douglas, where else should schools be located if not where the students live?

    HS-8 location is fair, just need to improve roads to mitigate the increased traffic and definitely acquire land and rebuild equivalent sports park.

    Hatrick and Adamo are not happy their first choice wasn’t approved, which was to build HS-6 in Broadlands first, or put HS-8 at Lex7. Both of those alternatives would have helped their developer buds, but the last BOS had enough of LCPS manipulations and took control of school siting, which makes sense since County planning is a County function. LCPS needs to focus on their strength – education, not planning/influencing growth in Loudoun.

  • LowdowneVA says:

    How do the supervisors get the HOA’s land to build a traffic circle?
    Does every residence in Lansdowne get to vote up or down if they want to give up their common park land?

  • HOAhell says:

    The rush is to get HS8 built before HS6 absorbs the students from Loudoun One who are the pretextual excuse for building HS8, which is a pretextual excuse for buying 45 acres of land from the NCC for $20 million when half of it is unbuildable and the other half is priced at twice its fair market value, and that is a pretextual excuse for “Impervious Ralph” bailing out the NCC for his good Chamber buddy Kurt Krause, who has no problem at all selling out his Lansdowne neighbors.

    Neither do the three people who pushed HS8 right past Loudoun’s porous land use ordinances. You gotta love their traffic calming committee’s “collaborative” efforts to study Lansdowne’s street grid and come up with a recommendation that VDOT install two speed humps and two raised crosswalks in 2017. The committee lead was “appointed” at a public meeting by her favorite bureaucrat, Sam Adamo, without any process for outsiders.

    OOPS! The Traffic Calming Committe forgot the private streets! That’s the ONLY kind of street that is next to Lansdowne Sports Park. It will be bulldozed along with its expensive irrigation system to make way for what jaded Lansdownians call Helicopter High.

    While his Lansdowne constituents were meeting with a planning commissioner from another district last Saturday, showing their best behavior in hopes they will be adopted by somebody who actually cares what happens to them, “Impervious Ralph” was canvassing on Kipheart Drive for Romney.

    Right down the street from the Sports Park, don’tcha know!

  • LowdowneVA says:

    Proffers are supposed to mitigate the impacts of public facilities on private neighborhoods. That is what Lansdowne Sports Park is and that is what it does.
    If the Sports Park is destroyed to build the high school, the proffer system will then be working backwards.
    Lansdowne HOA will be paying the freight to mitigate the effects of the public facility on itself: maintaining private streets and sidewalks for school use, including snow and ice removal; providing security and towing cars; turning over common land and giving up parks for the roundabout and road widening, and keeping up landscaping on public streets that the Lansdowne Conservancy is responsible for.
    These are hidden taxes on Lansdowne residents. They will be paying state tax for VDOT roads and crosswalks, county tax for interest on school construction bonds, county tax to operate the school, HOA dues for private streets and monitoring the unintended consequences of cramming a 275,000 sf school into land that is too small for it, and Lansdowne Conservancy fees of almost $300,000 a year for landscaping the medians of Lansdowne’s public streets.

  • Candace hansen says:

    I live in Lansdowne – and have 4 kids in Selden’s landing. I am so fed up with all the NIMBYs figting about schools hee, and coming up with a different argument every week. Looking at how underfunded and overcrowded our schools are — and now looking at having to continue the fight for HS-8, my husband and I have just signed with a realtor and are m oving to Arlington…FOR THE SCHOOLS. Yes, we will be negatively affecting or neighbors property values in order to start in a new school district asap. But, that’s just too damn bad! Many of our friends will be listing their homes in he spring, for the same reason…the overcrowded schols. So, you NIMBY’s enjoy your declining property values. See ya.. NOT!

  • HOAhell says:

    Yes, those selfish NIMBYs should understand that you and your four kids are way more important than they and their kids are.
    So what if their property values plunge when they get a picture postcard view of the back of HS8 and its dumpsters from their homes that were already there when you moved in. They really have no right to interfere with your school.
    Luckily there aren’t any HOAs in Arlington so you won’t have to pay dues to listen to HOA crickets like you do in Lansdowne.
    If you need a professional Realtor, there’s a good one right here in Lansdowne. Her business is booming with all the resales.

  • LowdowneVA says:

    According to the Loudoun County Public Schools Guide and Directory, 2012-2013, “The cost per pupil to educate students in LCPS is estimated to be $11,595 for the 2012-2013 school year.”
    For four children, that equals $46,380; over 12 years, the cost is $556,560.

    The figure cited by Loudoun County for FY ’13 is $11,752 per pupil.

    The public schools are funded by real estate taxes of $1.235 per $100 in assessed value. If your house is assessed at $520,000, divided by $100 = 5200 multiplied x $1.235 -= $6,422 in real estate taxes that you will pay this year for county services such as police, fire, schools, and parks and recreation. Over 12 years, that’s $77,064.

    Subtracting $6,422 in tax revenue from $46,380 that it costs Loudoun County to educate four children for one year is a difference of $39,958 more than the family will pay in taxes on a $520,000 house. At the 2012 cost, it would cost Loudoun County $479,496 to educate four children for 12 years. If the family lives in a house assessed at $520,000 for 12 years, they would pay $77,064 in real estate taxes.. If, after the youngest child graduates from high school, the parents downsize and move to Arlington, it will have cost Loudoun County $479,496 more to educate their four children, not including kindergarten, than the family will pay in real estate taxes over 12 years.

    Arlington has a larger citizen base paying real estate taxes without sending kids to public schools. So maybe that is how Arlington can afford to spend $18,047 per pupil in FY 2012. Four children for 12 years in Arlington schools will cost a total of $866,256 at that rate.

    Families in both Arlington and Loudoun Counties rely on people who have no children, as well as commercial businesses, to subsidize the education of their children. In Loudoun, the public schools are the county’s largest employer so the schools’ economy, in a way, feeds on itself.

    “About 70 percent of the $975 million in revenues from local taxes will be used for school operating expenses, capital projects and debt service. The remaining 30 percent will be used for the general county government for operating expenses, capital projects and debt service. ”
    — Loudoun County, FY 2013 budget document

    Feel free to check the math against the sources, listed below.

    See Page 30:

  • Ashburn Focused says:

    There seems to be an interest in the “real” HS numbers in justifying HS-8, so I have taken the time to analyze the posted Preliminary Enrollment numbers that were presented to the School Board at their Tuesday September 11th meeting.

    It is worth noting, that the Lansdowne student HS numbers are not broken out of the Tuscarora numbers, so for the purpose of discussion, I am using what I believe is a low number of 400. This number is projected to become 800 per the LCPS Planning Department in previous reports.

    Stone Bridge HS – capacity 1639 – current enrollment 1821 = 182 above capacity = 111% of capacity. Note – for Stone Bridge, the projected student enrollment was 1691 and the Principal had to de-staff and lose good teachers only to have to hire new teachers at the end of the summer.

    Broad Run HS – capacity with trailers 1654 – capacity without trailers 1486 – current enrollment 1827 = 110% of capacity with trailers or 123% of capacity without trailers.

    Final analysis of current HS student enrollment IF we had 3 Ashburn High Schools open today — Broad Run, Stone Bridge, and HS-8:

    Combined capacity = 4725 – enrollment 2012-13 numbers 4048 = 677 open seats across 3 schools and running at 86% of capacity today.

    Now, considering that HS-8 will not open until 2015 and we have developments still under construction including One Loudoun, Goose Creek Village, Morley Corner, Ashburn Place, Moreland Estates, etc., is there really an argument that we don’t need HS-8?

    The real argument is that we need it as soon as possible, as the numbers above demonstrate. And as was stated at the last PC meeting, there is no Plan B.

  • FedUp says:

    There is an estimated deficit of 169 athletic fields in the county. Of the many options to build more high school seats, the county should not have chosen the one that would result in a loss of athletic fields.

  • HOAhell says:

    Ashburn Focused: perfect name because that is what this is.
    By focusing on two Ashburn schools out of 13 high schools in the county, you base your case on what will please the vocal and self-serving people who are trying to manipulate the HS site selection and construction process.
    These are PUBLIC schools not ASHBURN schools. If you were objective, you would include all the numbers as does the staff report. They show some high schools over capacity; others under capacity. They show the inefficient use of existing facilities. They ignore the fact that the NCC itself could be modified and used as a magnet school for the kids who have to travel to Annandale and back every day to attend TJHSST. That would save the county about $100 million.
    Lansdowne Sports Park is nowhere near the new growth you mention. But the ISA property is, and so are several other available tracts that the county has ignored because it has not reviewed the land market since the 2008 recession. Why not build the high school on Belmont Ridge south of Route 7 and save bus miles for the majority of students who live south of Route 7, the ones you tick off in your post?
    The “walkable school” argument for HS8 is moot. Even the most shrill voices clamoring for HS8 in Lansdowne do not reside within the “walk zone.”
    If boundaries for high schools are adjusted according to PROXIMITY you have just proved that a high school will be needed south of Route 7. WHEN it will be needed is not as clear. You bolster your argument by discounting the capacities of both Champe and HS6, which is ready to be built today.
    An elite school in Lansdowne is the fervent desire of a small number of elitists who do not like the idea of their kids going to high school in Leesburg, and another, larger, number who want an ironclad guarantee that the southern and eastern populations in Ashburn won’t be moved out of Stone Bridge when boundaries are adjusted.
    But your Ashburn Focus cooks your numbers and defeats your argument.
    Public officials have the responsibility of providing a free public education that is substantially equal in every part of the county.
    The vast majority of Lansdowne residents have been purposely kept ignorant by the stoney silence of the Lansdowne HOA and have no idea that HS8 will destroy their beloved Sports Park.
    It is a proffer, not a chit to serve the political goals of the few whose goal is to keep the National Conference Center solvent by funneling money to it.

  • Loudoun Moron says:

    How full is Tuscarora currently? When Lansdowne students are moved to HS-8, how full will it be?

  • Ashburn Focused says:

    Tuscarora has 1736 students in the preliminary enrollment report. LCPS has not supplied Lansdowne student numbers so we can all only speculate at this time how many students will move to HS-8. Once Lansdowne students are moved out, then the option opens back up to have an AOS type program (still to be determined on the focus and funding).

    And HOAhell, yes I have been Ashburn Focused, which I do not apologize for…Pot, Kettle anyone? The “Ashburn” area houses the largest share of the school age citizen population in the entire county. Had citizens not gotten involved in the government process to help fix the problem, then the consequences would have been a continual game of “musical chairs” using schools instead of chairs with students constantly shuffled on a yearly basis. HS-6 is not an option to fix the shortage of seats that we have in Northern Ashburn. That school needs to relieve Briar Woods HS which has it’s own capacity challenges in an area that still has many approved yet un-built units.

    As for new fields, we should be happy that additional fields will be available for county use as Trailside Middle School, Discovery Elementary and Moorefield Elementary come online in the next 1-2 years.

    Finally, the County had a wonderful contract come forward last week unsolicited to purchase the ISA property as was reported in the paper. The intention all along, as found in the Capital Budget, was to have the sale of this property help off-set the purchase of the NCC site.

  • HOAhell says:

    The ISA contract you are referring to is the one that was not competitive?

    School fields are not available for youth leagues. That is one thing you are not going to be able to sweep away with fairy dust.

    Lansdowne Sports Park was a proffer. What is the quid pro quo?

  • Ashburn Focused says:

    School fields have been used extensively by my kids as they have played soccer and baseball, so I don’t understand that statement.

  • Polly Graph says:

    I’m tired of hearing all the crying over the fields and the tot lot. I’d gladly see the fields be repurposed into fields for the high school so that our kids have a school that doesn’t have such crowded classes. Our kids in Seldens have 27-30 kids in each class. That’s ridiculous. You moved to a PLANNED community. These communities attract families with CHILDREN. Children need schools. If you didn’t want that, you should have looked for a different type of community. Also, as far as home values go, your value will rise because most people looking for SFHomes are looking for them for their families. Families want schools for their children. They’re attracted to communities with schools integrated.

  • Growing County says:

    As long as Loudoun County continues to grow, there will constantly be boundary changes for all schools. If you don’t want changes, tell the BOS to stop approving housing developments without developers providing schools for our kids. The BOS is to blame. Why should Lansdowne property owners suffer and forfeit their proffered land for Ashburn residents? That’s why the ISA property isn’t being used to build a high school – Ashburn members don’t want a boundary change for the kids at Stone Bridge and Broad Run. Well, guess what? Eventually, that will happen when the BOS continues to build housing developments.
    Speaking of ISA – how about this –since when does the county take the first offer and not put it out for bid? This is another backhanded political scheme of the BOS exhibiting “no transparency” with the taxpayers. Where are the feds when we need them?? The BOS is buying 45 acres from NCC for $20m and can only use half of the land to build a high school (HS8), and the BOS thinks they are getting a great deal by selling 75 acres of “prime property” located next to the Metro for $20m? Truly there are no businessmen on the board! If they were so smart, they would drop the $20m contract with NCC, use part of the 75 acres land to build a high school, which will eliminate stealing proffered park land in Lansdowne with beautiful sports fields and taking away 18 acres from Belmont Middle School, and sell the remaining land to a “date center”. The $20m they will receive for the purchase of ISA is only a tradeoff for the purchase of NCC. In essence, Loudoun Taxpayers are the losers because we just lost 75 acres of “valuable land” located close to Metro at the expense of paying for the NCC property.

  • HOAhell says:

    The Board of Supervisors cannot with a straight face at the same time publicly cry for more school fields and destroy this proffered field.
    It appears the parochial interests of Lansdowne’s helicopter parents have blinded them to the legal meaning of the word “proffer.” A 275,000-square foot building, artificial turf, asphalt parking lots, and three traffic circles all represent impervious surface and they all replace “open space.”
    There is no way that building a school fulfills the proffer.
    As for whining, if Selden’s is too crowded to satisfy your needs, You can move your kids to Frederick Douglass. It is state of the art, brand new, with a fantastic staff, and plenty of space.
    Maybe that’s where Lansdowne west of Goose Creek will wind up after the boundaries are adjusted this fall.
    Elementary school kids in Lansdowne Village Green should not have to be bused south of Route 7.

  • HOAhell says:

    Sept 5 staff report, Planning Commission
    Program capacity, 12 existing high schools (excludes Champe HS)
    2011-12 = 18,751
    Sept . 30 enrollment= 18,173
    Excess capacity last year: 578
    Under enrolled high schools = 7
    Over enrolled high schools = 5
    Suggestion: add Champe capacity and enrollment
    Add HS 6 capacity and enrollment
    If there is still a need, build a school on ISA property (exactly where the growth is.)
    Establish a science and tech academy in existing NCC classrooms which will provide income for NCC and save $100 million for LCPS.

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