- Loudoun County Public Schools
School Board Presented FY 2024-FY 2029 Capital Budgets
Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Chief Operations Officer Kevin Lewis presented the Superintendent’s Fiscal Year 2024-Fiscal Year 2029 Capital Budgets at the November 15 meeting of the Loudoun County School Board.
Two hearing dates for the public to comment on the recommended capital budgets have been scheduled for Monday, November 28, and Monday, December 5. These hearings precede planned School Board work sessions to discuss the proposed Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and Capital Asset Preservation Program (CAPP) budgets.
The School Board is scheduled to adopt FY 2024 – FY 2029 CIP and CAPP budgets on Tuesday, December 13, during the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting. The School Board’s capital budget meetings will be held at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building, 21000 Education Court, Ashburn.
Following is a summary of the Capital Budgets:
The Superintendent presents to the School Board annually, or as necessary, to coordinate with the planning process of the appropriating governing body (the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors), a CIP budget, which includes recommendations regarding the timing, location, costs and savings associated with:
(1) New building requirements.
(2) Restoration and renewal of existing school facilities.
(3) Replacement or retirement of existing school facilities.
The Superintendent may make recommendations for new buildings and renovations after receiving input from School Board advisory committees and the community concerning facilities utilization, development and closure. Recommendations are supported by data regarding the feasibility and need for construction and/or renovation. Recommended projects will be based on LCPS educational program requirements, School Board-approved educational policy standards and the adequacy of existing facilities to accommodate present and proposed educational programs. Student enrollment, county population trends and accessibility for persons with disabilities are incorporated in project recommendations.
Capital Budget Components
Projects should be generally assembled into three main categories:
Capital Projects: New facilities, campus improvements, land acquisition, school buses and additions or renovations. Funding is identified and appropriated for each individual capital project with limited flexibility.
Capital Facility Renewal and Alteration Program (CRP) Projects: These are annually reviewed and identified projects to replace, repair, or update critical facility systems, including emergency maintenance or improvements; construct facility, site, or campus alterations, including renovation and/or renewal of buildings or sections of buildings; and installation of technology upgrades. CRP funding is used flexibly by staff to accommodate emergencies and/or other high-priority needs and can be reallocated among identified projects.
Capital Asset Preservation Program (CAPP) Projects: Annual funding for addressing regular maintenance and replacement of facility system components. Project components have shorter-term life cycles than the buildings they support and require major maintenance and/or replacement at least every 10 years, depending on the component type and the frequency and intensity of use. CAPP funding is used flexibly by staff to accommodate emergencies or other high-priority needs.
The total costs for the entire Capital Budget for FY2024 including Capital Projects, Capital Renewals and Alterations (CRP) and Capital Asset Preservation Plan (CAPP) is $165 million. The total cost of the six-year FY 2024-FY 2029 Capital Improvement Program is $1.3 billion.
It is important to focus on the first two years of this plan. Beyond that, market forces could radically alter the projected figures.
The FY 2025 figure is $549 million and includes the construction of HS-14 and the renovation/replacement of Park View High School.The School Board will balance the cost of new facilities against that of renovations and improvements to existing structures.
Factors Leading to the Increase in the CIP
The estimated project costs for FY2024-FY2029 account for 50 to 60 percent inflation in construction costs. The major drivers in the increased costs are:
Oil prices. Not only will it cost more for diesel fuel for machinery to excavate construction sites; plastic and other goods that are petroleum-based cost a great deal more.
Supply chain issues: HVAC systems that used to arrive 10 to 12 weeks after being ordered now have a delivery time of 60 weeks.The Department of Support Services has received School Board permission to bring contractors onboard during the school design phase so that materials may be ordered long ahead of need.
A labor shortage leading to higher wages for construction workers.
Fewer contractors: Many construction contractors did not survive the pandemic, leading to fewer and less-competitive bids. MS-14, for instance, was bid by only one contractor.
Major Projects in the FY 2024-FY 2029 Capital Improvement Program
There are four major projects included in the proposed CIP:
Located on the Lightridge High School/Hovatter Elementary campus, this school will open in 2024, one year ahead of its original schedule.
Cost: $63.5 million, including engineering, architectural costs, equipment and furniture. By comparison Hovatter, which opened in 2021, cost $44 million.
Design: ES-32 will serve students in kindergarten through second grade, while Hovatter will serve students in third through fifth grade. While ES-32 will appear to be similar to Hovatter, it will have a restroom in each class in keeping with the LCPS practice for K-2 classrooms.
This school will be located on a 175-acre tract on the southwest side of the Evergreen Mills Road/Red Hill Road/Ryan Road intersection and is scheduled to open in 2028. It will be one of three schools on this site.
Cost: $270 million (By comparison, Lightridge High School, which opened in 2021, cost $110 million. Heritage High School, opened in 2002, cost $32 million.)
Design: This will be LCPS’ first four-story high school. Its square footage will be larger than the traditional high school design to accommodate stairwells, elevators and additional bathrooms. Its foundation and roof, however, will have a smaller footprint, limiting the use of solar panels.
Park View High School Renovation/Replacement
The current Park View High School opened in 1976.
Cost: $220 million. The cost of replacing Park View includes the placement of a new school on the site of the current athletic facilities; demolition of the current Park View; and the placement of new athletic facilities on the site of the current school. Construction of the new school would take 30 to 36 months for construction beginning in 2024.
Renovation vs. Replacement: The Superintendent and Department of Support Services is recommending Park View be replaced instead of renovated based on several factors:
Impact on student learning: Replacing the school minimizes the impact on students and staff during the project. Significant effort will be expended to coordinate construction and school activities from a logistics and safety perspective. However, it will be an active construction site.
Routine maintenance will be performed at the current Park View while the new school is built. Last year, $1 million in maintenance work was done to Park View. (It should be noted that the plumbing system does not need replacement to maintain a safe school environment. Past flooding problems associated with Park View have been the result of improper items being flushed down the toilet.)
Systemwide improvements being made at other LCPS facilities would not be made at Park View. It would not be a wise expenditure of taxpayer money to install an improvement only to tear it down a short time later.
The replacement Park View High School would be of a modern design; probably two stories to conform with zoning restrictions.
Building a replacement school would mean Park View’s athletic program would move to alternate venues for three to four years. These venues have yet to be determined. Park View has a limited campus (40 acres). It has the fourth-smallest of any LCPS high school campus; following Loudoun County (31.5 acres), Loudoun Valley (36.3) and Broad Run (39.9).
Banneker Elementary Renovation
This school, originally opened in 1947, is the last former African-American school used by LCPS for instructional purposes.
Cost: $39 million, scheduled to begin during the summer of 2024.
Design: The design of this renovation is not yet complete. Preliminarily, an addition of five to seven units – including a gym and cafeteria – would be added to the existing building. The existing building would then be renovated. Banneker, which is situated on a 19.2-acre campus, would remain open while the renovation takes place.
Published November 16, 2022