News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Bratz are Back: School Crowding Totally Unanticipated Consequence of Massive Development

studymap2.jpgIt's apparently dawned on some people that adding tons of new awesome bollardy housing, along with making it slightly more necessary to have a new indoor swimming pool and maybe some tennis courts, might also have a teensy tiny impact on Reston schools, which has gone over really really well in the past.

If the Reston Master Plan Task Force uses Scenario G to project future population growth in Reston, South Lakes High School will have close to 3,000 students in it by 2018, a Reston 20/20 blog post says.

The Reston Citizens Association advocacy group cites a December Fairfax County Public Schools' memo that uses the assumptions of 82 new single-family homes, 649 townhouses, 3,748 low-rise units and 20,000 high-rise units built in Reston in the next several years.

The development is expected to occur in relation to the late 2013 opening of Metro's Silver Line, which is expected to add high-density housing in many spots close to stations at Wiehle-Reston East and Reston Parkway.
hispters.jpgB-b-but the idea was all these hip, vowel-free residences would attract young, upwardly mobile hipster types, with their cool hats, fixed-gear bikes -- and, most importantly, no kids! Kids are for Ashburn, not transit-oriented hawtness, right? After all, kids don't really fit into that whole carefree, ride-the-Metro-for-an-hour-to-get-to-the-bomb-strapping-gig-in-Clarendon-then-Metro-back-in-time-for-dinner-at-the-Macaroni-Grill lifestyle we're promoting. Do you think that couple on the right is staying up nights, worrying about the SOL scores at their neighborhood school, or about IB vs. AP? We think not.

Still, if we do get some more "shorties," as the kids today no longer say, this could lead to overcrowding at already-crowded SLHS in just the next few years -- as many as 800 students over capacity by 2017. But our BFFs at Reston 2020 point out that there are no plans to expand at the school on the horizon, asking:
When will the Board look at either investing in the capacity and capabilities of South Lakes or changing its boundaries--a contentious process the school went through just 5 years ago?
If we actually get the mondo, worst maximum-case population growth suggested in the task force analysis, Fairfax County Schools believes it will need to build two new elementary schools, a new middle school, and a new high school somewhere between Reston and Rt. 28. Fortunately, we're here to help with a few ideas of where they can put these new schools:
  • Stack them on top of each other.
  • Build them in level G23 of the Wiehle Avenue Metro parking garage. It worked for Terraset!
  • Lease the 14th floor of the new mauvescraper.
  • Two words: Tall Oaks. Plenty of space, and enough stucco and concrete to keep the little ones from getting homesick.
You're welcome, planners. You're welcome.

Of course, given the general decline in federal contracting anticipated going forward means that our Ford Focus-driving population isn't likely to grow as much as anticipated. So maybe we can just get by with a couple more trailers in the parking lots of all our current schools:

Stacked trailers.jpg
Come to think of it, we've already tried that.


  1. The new high school should be over near Generous George's pizza. Lots of land and at least the pizza place will stay busy.

  2. Was the land where Baron Cameron Park is now (NW corner of Baron Cameron & Wiehle) really supposed to be held for another FCPS school? Now may be the time to revive that discussion.

    1. Yep. But now it's been handed over to the Park Authority, in hopes of building the new indoor rec center.

  3. Two words: Flatten Winterthur.

    You're welcome.

  4. Flatten Shadowood.

  5. Leasing muavescraper space is not a bad idea.

  6. It's actually not all that funny, but the County and the developers assumed (hoped) that the new development would not attract families with children. The gold standard for development these days is the Ballston corridor where conventional wisdom claims only affluent singles live. That's what every dense development proposal aspires to. And, if development does bring more children, it blows a huge hole in the County's plans which call for the County to receive a windfall in new property tax revenue without having to provide new County facilities, in particular schools.