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LORTON, VA-Plans for the development of the new South County High School at Laurel Hill have taken a great leap forward with the recent announcement that construction on the 386,000-sf site will begin this month. The school will sit on just over 69 acres of a 2,000-acre parcel that had been the home of the DC Correctional Facility at Lorton, which closed its doors in late 2001. Fairfax County acquired the property from the General Services Administration last summer in a $4.2 million exchange.

The new school, which will accommodate as many as 2,200 area students, marks Fairfax County’s first educational facility to be developed through a public/private partnership. Fairfax County is working with South County Secondary LLC, which consists of KSI Services Inc. and Clark Educational Advisors LLC, a division of Clark Real Estate Advisors. Upon completion, South County High will have cost $64 million to develop; that is approximately $18 milion less than the project would have cost had the County decided to develop the facility with bond funds through the School Board’s Capital Improvement Program.

This joint arrangement also allows for an earlier completion date; South County High will open in 2005, as opposed to 2008. “The public/private partnership provides the ability to obtain funding for the project several years ahead of conventional County school funding allocations,” Clark Real Estate Advisors development executive Mitch Bonanno explains to GlobeSt.com. “The three-year acceleration of the project is also made possible through the turn-key delivery process managed by Clark, by which we are developing/site-adapting the design, developing a financing plan that the County could implement and constructing the school. The turn-key process allowed all activities to be streamlined and saved significant time and money.”

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