The county government and school district will swap land with Willowsford to make room for Lightridge High School, an elementary school, and, potentially, a 34-acre park.
The swap involves less than an acre of land, but provides the final piece needed to move the school construction forward. Until the land swap is completed, the county cannot approve the site plan for the high school. It has already approved a commission permit for the school.
The county and schools jointly purchased the 152 acres south of Braddock Road and west of Northstar Boulevard to build the south Dulles high school and elementary school. Supervisors haven’t yet determined a use for the 34 acres that will be left over after the schools are built, but have discussed the possibility of using it as parkland.
In January, supervisors accelerated funding for Lightridge High School, with plans to open in 2020. The site plan for the high school is expected to be ready for approval in February.
School leaders hope the high school will provide relief in some of the county’s most overcrowded schools. Until it opens, the schools will be making do by running Willard Middle School as an intermediate school starting next school year, housing eighth and ninth graders. Meanwhile, sixth and seventh graders will attend Mercer Middle School, and grades 10 through 12 will be housed at John Champe High School.
The boundary line adjustment creating the land swap also parcels off the county’s share of that property.