New School Proposed In Fluvanna

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

February 15, 2006

Fluvanna County is making one of its most difficult decisions ever as the Board of Supervisors votes Wednesday on whether or not to approve building for a new high school.

The first phase of the project would cost the county about $57 million and that's mostly for just the construction of a new high school, which would be on many acres of Pleasant Grove.

The plan is called the 'Domino Plan' because it would convert the existing high school into a middle school, and existing middle school into a building to hold 4th and 5th graders. Proponents are arguing that since Fluvanna County is the fastest growing county in Central Virginia, it needs this building, and will keep the county united.

Opponents say a 1500 person school is too big and too expensive.

"I think other than the purchase of Pleasant Grove in the mid-90s, this is the most expensive single thing that Fluvanna county has ever undertaken," said Fluvanna Board of Supervisors Marvin Moss.

The current high school has over 1000 students, but proponents argue it's not enough room for the current growth rate. The $57 million dollar pricetag is only for the first phase. Voting on the plan is going to be a close decision for the school board. If it fails, the board will have to come up with a new proposal that will most likely mean the construction of a new middle school, with repairs happening to the current high school.

"Studies from the University of Michigan that say the idea size high school is somewhere between 600 and 900 students, whether it's in an urban setting or a rural setting, and it seems to me that a 1500 student high school is just too large," said Moss.

But plans could be made for smaller learning communities within the school, and having one school also gives students more programs and classes to chose from.

"We're keeping a united school system instead of dividing the community between two high schools. You have a bit of a division in the county between those who live at the lake and those who live outside of the lake and dividing the county into various school zones I think would just make those problems more difficult," said Moss.

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