PWC development: Cause and effect
At Potomac High, this year marks the completion of a major 3-year renovation to the 32-year-old school that brought the addition of 30 new classrooms, the conversion of old outdoor courtyards to a new culinary arts center, a newly expanded gymnasium — now the largest of any high school in Prince William County, a new turf football field, and a newly renovated dining hall and cafeteria.
While enrollment numbers at the high school remain below capacity, that is expected to change. Construction has just begun nearby on a new neighborhood, Potomac Shores, where some 4,000 homes and a new town center will be built along the Potomac River.
“We expect our enrollment to increase to as many as 2,300 once Potomac Shores is built,” said Principal Michael Wright, 53, who is returning to the school for a second year as it’s top administrator. “We’re not at capacity yet, but we’re pretty sure we’ll get there.” -
How nice to have one of our schools under-capacity. That means kids can go through the halls easier, scheduling is easier, students can get the classes they want, classrooms aren’t bulging at the seams. The under-capacity status will all come to a screeching halt as soon as new homes are completed in Potomac Shores and families start moving in.
When you add 2,300 students to an existing school, what you are really saying is, new high school. You are also saying 3-4 new elementary schools and 2 middle schools.
Potomac Shores as been on the books for a long time. Its story is disjointed and full of gaps. It isn’t necessarily the doings of the current board of supervisors. However, unfettered growth does have its consequences. The three short paragraphs above in a local online newspaper have encapsulated the issue:
Build 4,000 new homes and town center, prepare to build schools–lots of them. Those 4,000 homes also will stress the library system, existing traffic patterns, water and sewage, fire and rescue–all the infrastructure. 4000 homes also equals approximately 8000 new kids. equals about 320 new teachers.
Who pays for all this? Has the builder proffered new schools and infrastructure? Of course not. You will be paying for it if you live in Prince William County. it doesn’t get any more basic than that.