Will SLHS Pyramid See 2,914 New Students?

Using "Scenario G" estimates, Reston population growth could squeeze schools.

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.

The memo estimates an impact of 2,914 new students to the South Lakes pyramid. It adds that under this scenario, Reston would need two new elementary schools, a new middle school and one high school in or nearby Reston.

To see the full memo, click here.

Similar information was also reported in FCPS' Capital Improvement Plan, released in January. That outlook projected SLHS would be 40 percent over capacity by 2017-18. Read the Patch story here.

Read a Patch Blog by Reston Citizens Association President Colin Mills about Scenario G here.

Hunter Mill School Board Rep Pat Hynes said the school system is considering both an addition to South Lakes as well as an additional school in western Fairfax. Both will face challenges, though.

"South Lakes is over-enrolled now and projected to continue growing," Hynes said. "The same is true for other high schools in the western end of the county. One proposal is to build a new high school to absorb to growth. The challenges of that plan are cost, time and the availability of land. The school system is also considering an addition to South Lakes, which could save time and money."

The result of an addition,of course, would be that South Lakes would become a bigger school than we're used to. I would like to hear feedback on that. "


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Jim Hubbard April 10, 2013 at 03:28 PM
It is remarkable that the projected increases in school population have received so little attention -- from the media, the general public and most important, elected officials. Even without the Silver Line prompted development, enrollments at many County schools were projected to increase, including many in Reston. Given that the schools account for 60-70% of the County's budget, it is remarkable that the Board of Supervisors remains committed to the notion of the eternal free lunch, that the County can maintain good public services without raising taxes. The idea that the Silver Line development will increase school enrollments calls into the question the County's rationale for encouraging development. The County's plan (hope?) was that whatever new housing was built was occupied by people who use few County services, childless households in particular. When County officials and developers claim the Ballston corridor as their model, they are indicating that new residents will be affluent childless households. That way the County would gain new tax revenue without incurring new expenses. This always seemed like wishful thinking.
Arielle Masters April 10, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Exactly what Reston does NOT need: 20,000+ new people who aren't at all invested in the idea of Reston. Start building a new western high school now, please, or my kids will be wall-to-wall with other kids the whole time they're in school :-< Really obnoxious for people who've been involved with this area for 20-30-more years, to be squeezed because of greedy developers and officials' plans to "grow" the area. How about doing what's good for people who already live in the area and whose kids already go to school in the area?
Java Master April 10, 2013 at 06:04 PM
...and pray tell, what exactly is the "idea of Reston" you subscribed to? What hooey! Did you truly think you could raise the drawbridge and keep newer neighbors from moving here? Was the cut-off point really 20 years ago or more? That Reston could remain frozen in time? That would certainly exclude my family--we've only lived here since '96, a time when new development was apace across Reston, Fairfax County and points beyond. And it is this attitude I find most distasteful about some (certainly not all)Restonians. (We are now among the old-timers in our neighborhood, many others having moved away for a host of reasons). Growth happens, and it is virtually inevitable. It's only a matter of how the commmunity at large chooses to deal with it.
The Analyst April 10, 2013 at 06:06 PM
This is the result of special interest politics in play. It has nothing to do with helping the low income, as Hudgins likes to claim is her basis for allowing and promoting the "Developers Gone Wild" fest in Reston to continue unabated. It has everything to do with big money being able to buy and pay for the political system in Northern Virginia. Special interest politics is destroying the nation. Over 90% of the people in this country want gun control, and yet our brave and fearless congress will bow not to the will of the people but to their monied special interests. What's the percentage of people that want some degree of control over development in Reston? 90% perhaps? Well, there are no studies, and the development special interests won't allow any since they likely know where they'll come out. As long as there are no studies, our fearless leader, Cathy Hudgins can wash and then kiss the feet of those that finance her...and back it up by claiming she's "fighting" for the down trodden. The ONLY way any of these people will ever get it is if we start kicking them out of office, and I mean NOW. Don't wait until their terms expire, all you're doing is giving them more time to do more damage to the area. Same goes for congress...kick the politicians bowing down to the gun lobby out of office.
The Convict April 11, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Change is inevitable but growth -- population expansion -- doesn't have to be, JM. Refusing to put in additional housing units would probably keep Reston within a few percent of its current size. Traffic patterns, however, are going to change because of the new Metro. That much IS inevitable.
The Convict April 11, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Unless you can catch Hudgins kicking dogs, selling weed or fondling children, there isn't much that you can do. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Fairfax County doesn't have a way for running a recall/no-confidence vote, and the next election isn't until 2016.
Jeremy Lee April 11, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Reston is and will continue to be a destination city. People objected to the expansion of Reston Town Center and now it's a thriving area at the center of our city. Might as well get on board the growth train because it isn't stopping for anyone.
Jim Hubbard April 11, 2013 at 06:07 PM
The school population is going to increase in the next several years. If new housing follows in the wake of the Silver Line, it will increase even more. The question then is how the County deals with the additional students. Will the County spend the money to expand existing schools and build new ones? Will it, at the same time, continue to renovate older schools? Will the County rearrange school boundaries to make best use of existing schools? Will the County hire the additional staff needed for the additional pupils and pay them properly? Will the County be willing to do all this even if the development prompted by the Silver Line does not produce a windfall of additional revenue? And, most important, will the electorate recognize that such steps are essential to providing our children an appropriate education?
The BSD Guy April 11, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Gosh...could it be we have a developer on board???? "Might as well get on board the growth train because it isn't stopping for anyone." Translation: We've got the politicians in our pockets and kissing our butts so you might as well give up all hope of ever stopping us. DEATH TO DEMOCRACY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SPECIAL INTEREST POLITICS FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Java Master April 13, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Have to agree with Jeremy. The notion of not building additional housing units--be they townhomes, apartments, condos, whatever--is anathema to the future of Reston and NoVa. (Now some of this development leaves me shaking my head, frankly. Do you really want a beautiful view of the toll road and its environs? That's not the sort of place I would choose to live, after all. Different strokes for different folks. And a fair amount of the planned commercial and residential building may, in fact, never occur. The future is notoriously fickle.) But it is clear that the "Reston Way "as one ex-neighbor put it, is changing,and we are all going to get some new neighbors.
Terry Maynard April 13, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Interesting dialogue here on population growth and its impact on schools. Separately, I have posted a letter here on Patch regarding growth--jobs & population--and its adverse impact on local traffic. And we haven't yet talked about parks and recreation or other civic requirements. The point is that we need to manage Reston's growth--its quantity and characteristics--in a way that needed public infrastructure (roads, schools, open space, culture, environment, etc.) can keep up with it and sustain our quality of life. That has not yet been accomplished in the planning efforts of the Reston Task Force. After three and one-half years, we are on our seventh scenario (Scenario G) and what we're finding is that the ambitions of developers continue to outstrip the ability of the community to absorb the proposed changes.
Terry Maynard April 13, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Unfortunately, the County staff insists--despite repeated challenges from community members of the RTF--to generate scenarios without simultaneously looking at implementation consequences. Implementation issues are not to be addressed until after a scenario becomes a plan approved by the County and turned into an irrevocable level of minimum development codified in the zoning ordinance. Then suddenly the County discovers it has to add special taxes and other measures to achieve a semblance of sustainable growth and quality of life for current and future residents--although the latter will certainly suffer. Tysons is an excellent example of this absurdity. It is impossibly frustrating--and utterly illogical--for those of us who try to keep planning in line with the ability of the County to provide needed infrastructure and the community to absorb change.
Joe Heflin April 13, 2013 at 06:24 PM
"...20,000 high-rise units built in Reston in the next several years." @300 units per building this is approximately 65 high rise buildings. Where are 65 going? @2 per unit that's 40,000 people. Where are these 40,000 going? (and how fast will they move on existing streets?) And, how many of these are projected to be built on all or part of Reston National Golf Course?


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