The Chesterfield County (Va.) School Board has approved a plan to build a $36.3 million elementary school in the western part of the district.
The Chesterfield Observer reports that the fast tracking of the project drew the ire of some residents, who criticized the lack of transparency, the swift timetable, and that the developer of the subdivision in which the new school will be built is contributing an in-kind donation of an undisclosed amount.
Board member Rob Thompson says that the new 900-student school, to be built in the Magnolia Green subdivision, will alleviate projected crowding at elementary schools in the area. If the county's Board of Supervisors approves the school district's plans, the facility would welcome students in 2020.
With about 5,900 additional homes approved in the residential development pipeline, school officials estimate elementary school enrollment in western Chesterfield will swell by 1,500 students between now and 2030.
The increase would put enrollment at Winterpock and Grange Hall elementary schools at 243 percent and 171 percent of their capacities.
Before the vote, board member Carrie Coyner discussed her reasons for opposing the proposal. She says that a new school is needed, but there needed to be more time for comments from the public.
She was the lone vote against the new school.
Thompson says a new school will minimize disruptions from redistricting and assist in the school system’s long-term goal of reducing the use of portable classrooms.