Loudoun School Board Considers Renaming Former Monroe Building

The building that has housed Loudoun County’s vocational technology classes for more than 40 years may soon be renamed to the Charles S. Monroe Education Center, only a slight change from its current name.

School staff members are recommending that name for the building that has been called the Charles S. Monroe Technology Center since it opened in 1977. They will present their recommendation to the School Board tomorrow night.

The programs that were housed at the technology center building at 715 Childrens Center Road SW in Leesburg are now at the Academies of Loudoun campus and have been renamed the Monroe Advanced Technology Academy.

The now-vacated building at Childrens Center Road will be demolished and, on that same site, a new facility will be built to house the alternative education programs offered at Douglass School, just 2 miles east at 407 E. Market St. in Leesburg.

In a statement from staff explaining their recommendation for the new name for the county’s alternative school, they write that the name, Douglass School, should stay with the 1941 building on East Market Street because of its historical significance.

Starting in the late ’30s, the county’s black families, organized as the County Wide League, raised money to purchase land for the school when the Loudoun School Board refused to do so. They raised $4,000 to acquire the land and then sold it to the school system for $1. The school would serve Loudoun’s black students until court-ordered desegregation in 1968. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Of naming the Children’s Center Road site Charles S. Monroe Education Center, staff wrote that, “as an ‘Education Center’ the facility will be distinctly noted for the variety of educational programs it will house, including the secondary school alternative education classes, an adult education program with day and night classes, and the General Educational Development (GED) test preparation program.

The school’s namesake, Charles S. Monroe, was a teacher at several Loudoun schools and served as principal at Leesburg High School until he retired in 1962. During his tenure there, he established vocational technology classes in agriculture, mechanics and home economics – planting the seed for the first vocational school in the county. He also played a role in bringing Northern Virginia Community College to Loudoun.

If the School Board wants to hear other suggestions for the school’s name, it may create a naming committee. For now, the board is scheduled to vote on a name at its Oct. 9 meeting.

The new school building is expected to be built and ready for students by August 2021.

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