Loudoun residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on a new Loudoun County Fire and Rescue facility on Loudoun County Public Schools-owned land at the next School Board meeting May 23. The Tuesday meeting will also be the public’s opportunity to weigh in on altered bus routes that if passed, will go into effect in the 2017-18 school year.
The potential Fire and Rescue facility would be built on land that currently belongs to Sycolin Creek Elementary School. The site is over 180 acres, much of which has been designated as tree preserves, wetlands, steep slopes and floodplains which limits development potential, board member Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) told the board at the May 9 meeting. The Fire and Rescue facility would use five acres.
LCPS analyzed the land for a secondary school site when the land was acquired in 2006, but found a second school or other LCPS use would be unlikely because of zoning, land characteristics and existing proffers. DeKenipp recommended the board approve the transfer of land to Fire and Rescue. A new facility on the site would improve response times in that area of Leesburg, he said.
“I think there was an additional point made, that the area has a service area 10 which is the worst service level measurement you can provide for an area,” board Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said. “The area this station would service is currently located in the worst ranking.”
The facility would have one truck and one tanker, LCPS Assistant Superintendent Kevin Lewis said. The land had originally been planned for a Department of Parks and Recreation facility, but Parks and Rec and LCPS staff agreed to give the five acres to Fire and Rescue, Lewis said.
Staff also worked to optimize bus routes. Lewis presented the proposed route changes to the board at the May 9 meeting. The new bus routes would reduce the number of second loads and the length of some bus routing times. In order to be most efficient, Lewis also recommended pushing back the start time 15 minutes for 19 schools, four middle schools and 15 high schools.
“There is an issue to be dealt with internally in transportation,” board member Debbie Rose (Algonkian) said. “How can we better serve our students getting them to school faster and more efficiently and how can we use our resources better so we are able to keep funding in classroom. Doing this hard work will pay off.”
The board will have a full discussion on the positives and negatives of allowing the facility on the Sycolin Creek additional land and the altered bus routes and vote on both matters.