Letter to the Editor: HHS Renovations are Needed
Falls Church group UPROAR is seeking to jump ahead of Herndon in priority for renovations.
Herndon High School is scheduled for a much-needed renovation/addition project to address both the deteriorating building conditions and rapidly growing student enrollment, with construction projected to start in about five years. However, a group of Falls Church H.S. parents that calls itself UPROAR is working hard to have the School Board review the renovation queue list and have their school move ahead of Herndon H.S. and many other schools in this FCPS renovation priority list.
The renovation priority list has Herndon H.S. at #25, Oakton HS at #30, and Falls Church HS at #45, with Herndon being on the list for planning funds in the 2013 bond package. Of course, if Falls Church gets bumped up, these schools (plus numbers 31-44, including Clearview Elementary) will be pushed down the priority list. Our renovation timeline is in jeopardy.
Why does that matter to the greater Herndon/North Reston community? Current HHS students will not be affected by any change to this priority list, because planning is slated to begin in 2015 and construction in early 2017. However, current elementary school students definitely will be affected by this change. I know many elementary school parents will be unhappy that their children may not get the freshly renovated and expanded high school they were planning on. Improved and expanded schools also are a boon to property values, so homeowners without school-aged children and business owners should be concerned as well.
The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) shows each school's status and plans/needs for renovations:
It shows that Herndon HS's current program capacity is at 2,017 students and it was over-capacity with 2,208 attending last year (2011-12). Projected 5-year enrollment is expected to jump to 2,435, putting our school well above capacity. How many more trailers can fit on campus? Falls Church HS's program capacity is 1,930, but last year’s enrollment was only 1,567 and its 5-year projected enrollment is expected to stay within capacity at 1,852. Both buildings were built in the same year, 1968.
Also a source of good information about each school's projected enrollment, building capacity, etc. is http://www.fcps.edu/fts/dashboard
The Herndon High School Pyramid PTSA/PTAs' strong desire is that the renovation priority list NOT be revised to accommodate the demands of one school community. It was created by an independent firm after extensive study of each school, its condition and current/projected enrollment, and was approved by the School Board in 2008. This will allow Herndon H.S. to remain on the 2013 bond package.
I urge Herndon and north Reston community members to share their concerns about this with ALL of the county School Board members since we cannot rely solely on the support of our HHS members Janie Strauss (Dranesville) and Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill). It is best for ALL School Board members to know our commitment to the HHS renovation schedule so that they can vote to maintain it. (School Board contact information is available at http://www.fcps.edu/schlbd/members/bdmembers.shtml.)
Let’s make sure our students will get the enlarged and improved Herndon High School building that they deserve and our community has been counting on.
Herndon H.S. PTSA President