Just south of Leesburg airport, right off Sycolin Road, sits the future home of the Academies of Loudoun High School. Located on 120 acres, the 315,000 square foot building will support 2,500 students who will attend every other day.
Scheduled to open in the fall of 2018, the new building will house the existing Academy of Science and the CS Monroe Technology Center. It will also be home to a new magnet program called the Academy of Engineering and Technology.
There has been quite a bit of talk about the design of the new high school, and from what I hear, it will be unlike any high school that I’ve ever seen. Designed to encourage collaboration amongst the students from all three of the academies, the work spaces and labs will open to a large gathering area at the center which will also serve as a dining hall.
The design firm Stantec Architectures and the builder Holder Construction Company purposely avoided wings and quiet hallways to create a building that feels more like an office building for Google or Apple, than a high school in Loudoun County.
So why is this high school so important to the residents of Loudoun, even for those without school age children?
Currently, Loudoun pays over $13,000 per student to send 248 top students to Fairfax County’s highly ranked magnet high school, Thomas Jefferson (TJ). My expectation is that this practice will end with the opening of the Academies of Loudoun. This will represent an annual savings of over 3.3 million dollars for the county.
Just as importantly, the new high school reinforces Loudoun’s reputation as having a great school system, which is critical to supporting home values.
The county welcomes home buyers from every age demographic, but the demographic that drives the real estate engine in the county more than any other is couples with young children and couples with plans to start a family in the near future. Call them millennials or Gen Y’ers, but they care deeply about the quality of our school system.
Local businesses rely on a strong school system as well.
Loudoun County Economic Development works hard to attract companies from all over the world to relocate to the county. According Rick Morris who is the business development officer for the LCED, the quality of our school system is consistently one of the top factors that companies look at when making that decision. Companies that bring high paying jobs require a highly skilled and highly educated workforce. “When corporations consider opening an office in Loudoun, one of the key things they want to know is the quality of the school system. One of the biggest advantages Loudoun offers businesses is that our school system is highly ranked. Executives can feel confident in asking their employees to move their families here, knowing that their children are going to get an excellent education in Loudoun. Loudoun County Public Schools have an on-time graduation rate of 96% and 94% of students will continue their education and earn a 4 year college degree. Loudoun County Public Schools has been recognized as a 2017 Best School District in America by Niche with an overall grade of A+”.