This year, Justice High School in Lake Barcroft has nearly 200 more students than it was designed to handle — an overcrowding issue that has driven plans to expand the school.
The Fairfax County School Board is seeking to add two buildings to the nearly 21-acre site at 3301 Peace Valley Lane. The county’s planning commission will decide whether to recommend approval of the project after a public hearing tonight (Wednesday).
A public hearing before the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Aug. 2.
Built in 1959, the current school has 2,182 students, exceeding the design capacity of 1,994 students, school officials say. While efforts are underway to utilize other options to find space, the school board is seeking a long-term solution that would accommodate up to 2,500 students.
Overall, a three-story classroom building addition is proposed, along with a one-story expansion of the cafeteria.
Located in the northern part of the property, the roughly 45,000-square-foot classroom building will have new classrooms, science labs and special education spaces. The first and second stories will connect to the existing school building.
The latest parking plan departs significantly from initial plans to use part of a public park across the street for parking, which were not received well by community members who sought to protect green space.
FCPS has explored other alternatives for parking on the site, including a waiver from the county’s planning commission to reduce the number of parking spaces.
Construction of the addition will require the removal of 81 parking spaces from the school’s rear parking lot, but 20 parking spaces will be added back. As a result, the number of parking spaces will decrease from 329 spaces to 323 spaces in the immediate area. Bicycle racks will be added near the new building as well.
FCPS also plans to provide 37 on-street parking spaces on one side of Peace Valley Lane, bringing the overall number of parking spaces to 355. Those spots would be limited to one side of the road.
Currently, the school system is determining options for temporary parking if the construction project is approved.
The project is currently in the permitting phase, according to FCPS. It will be funded by a 2019 school bond referendum.
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