Supervisors See Questions in Douglass School Surplus

County supervisors are wary of the School Board’s discussions around surplussing a second school building still in use by the school system.

Last year the School Board began discussing the possibility of surplussing the former Douglass Elementary School on Union Street in Leesburg. School Board members have discussed turning it over to the Loudoun Freedom Center—but first it would have to go through the county. School Board members directed staff to look into surplussing the 0.84-acre property in phases as the school system moves out.

The Board of Supervisors cannot formally commit to giving the property to the Loudoun Freedom Center in advance of the surplus, however. Before giving government property to a private entity, the board must hold a public hearing.

The buildings are also in need of major renovation and maintenance. County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said “we have let this amazing piece of property fall into some disrepair for a long time.”

“To say, okay, we’re going to give it to somebody else, knowing all these problems exist with it, and we’re not going to do anything before that, doesn’t seem to be something I would cotton to, to be honest,” Randall said.

The property also faces a complicated zoning situation, being split-zoned under Leesburg zoning.

One of the buildings on the property, the Union Street School, served as an education hub for the county’s black students from the early 1880s to 1958, first as the Leesburg Training School, the Leesburg Colored School, and later as Douglass Elementary School. For the past 75 years, the school system has used it for storage.

The other building on the property contains the school system’s Child Find, which provides free developmental screenings for preschool children, and the Parent Resource Center.

rgreene@loudounnow.com

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