DATE: August 29, 2016
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

Changes to the Plan for a New Woodbrook — No Second Floor, Fewer New Students; Community Meeting on Improvements Will Be Tuesday Evening, September 6

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – A community information meeting on a project that would modernize and expand Woodbrook Elementary School will be held in the school’s media center beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6.

The Woodbrook project is one of four that comprise a bond referendum that will be on Albemarle County ballots this Election Day, November 8. Collectively, the projects would improve 25 schools across the county. If approved by voters, the referendum would authorize the issuance of up to $35 million in General Obligation Bonds.

The Woodbrook project was recommended by the school division’s Long-Range Planning Committee, comprised of citizen volunteers from across Albemarle County. The project subsequently was reviewed and approved by the Albemarle County School Board and the Board of Supervisors.

Currently, nearly 30 percent of all Albemarle County Public Schools students attend classes in schools that are overcrowded. If new classroom space is not added in the next few years, that percentage will exceed 50. The schools most affected by overcrowding are in the urban ring along Route 29.

This month, a trailer was added to the three trailers already at Woodbrook because of ongoing space needs at the school. The Woodbrook addition would eliminate the need for the four trailers at the site, accommodate projected future growth at the school, and also relieve overcrowding at Agnor-Hurt and Greer elementary schools.

The presentation on September 6 will include several changes in the project’s scope and design based upon feedback the school division received from residents who attended a February 10 informational meeting. Among these changes:

  • A reduction in the number of students who would attend Woodbrook from Agnor-Hurt and Greer elementary schools. Initially, it was estimated that up to 300 students could be reassigned to Woodbrook. That projection has been revised down to 200;
  • The elimination of a second story in the original design plans; and
  • A larger buffer zone between the school’s proposed new construction and nearby homes.

The school division’s Chief Operating Officer, Dean Tistadt, said the school division and the project architect will attempt to preserve a sledding hill on the property, also as requested by residents at the February meeting.

The Woodbrook expansion would provide new classroom space in two locations and allow for three additional pre-K programs. The lack of adequate space for pre-K programs in urban ring schools now requires the school division to bus pre-K students to Agnor-Hurt and Greer and then to bus them from those schools to Broadus Wood Elementary School.

“I would like to thank the members of the Woodbrook community who attended our February meeting, both for their interest in this project and for their thoughtful and valuable comments. Based upon what we heard at that meeting, we have made some changes to the project that more effectively take into account the best educational interests of children, while maintaining the quality of the surrounding community environment,” Tistadt said.

The agenda for September 6 will include a project update from the school division, a presentation from the project architects, RRMM, who will share preliminary design drawings, and an opportunity for community members to ask questions or offer comments.

In addition to the new classroom space, the 36,000-square foot Woodbrook project will expand the school’s cafeteria, add a new gymnasium, and provide additional parking and traffic improvements.

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