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LEESBURG, VA-The Loudoun County School Board moves forward with its approximately $30 million plan to build two new public schools with the acquisition of a 68.5-acre parcel and the selection of Tucon Construction Corporation as the contractor for the project. Money to finance the new educational facilities will come from the county’s $729 million, 6-year Capital Improvements Program.

Frances Hazel Reid Elementary School and Smart’s Mill Middle School are scheduled for completion for the 2003/2004 and 2004/2005 school years, respectively. “We hope to start building by the end of the summer to make that tight deadline,” Loudoun County Public Schools information officer Wayne B. Byard shares with GlobeSt.com. “We’ve already done the geological surveys and are ready to go.”

Construction will cost about $29 million. Loudoun County paid a below market price of nearly $1.4 million, or $20,000-per-acre, for the school site formerly known as the O’Connor property. Developers had been hoping to get their hands on the land for years. The seller was the local O’Connor family, which has owned the property–part of the family’s 422-acre Dry Hollow Farm–since the 18th Century.

About 800 students will attend the elementary school, which will be about 84,100 sf in size with a multi-purpose gymnasium, outdoor courts and athletic fields. The middle school campus will accommodate nearly 1,200 students in its 160,000-sf structure, and will feature two gymnasiums, a 442-seat auditorium, outdoor courts and athletic fields.

“Loudoun County is the second fastest growing county in America, behind Douglas County, CO,” Byard says, explaining the demand for more schools in the area. “We expect 13,000 more students within the next five years, so the new facilities are critical.”

The county’s Capital Improvements Program calls for the construction of eight elementary schools, one middle school, and three high schools. Harrisonburg, VA firm Moseley Architects is designing all of the brick facilities, and will use the in-progress Hutchison Farm Elementary School as a prototype for the campuses.

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