New elementary school proposal in Chesterfield moves forward

New elementary school proposed in Chesterfield
Published: Jul. 5, 2018 at 4:40 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2018 at 4:54 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A new elementary school is being planned for the Matoaca District in Chesterfield County.

The School Board approved a motion for the school at a special-called meeting on July 11 that will now head to the Board of Supervisors.

The proposal is part of the already adopted Capital Improvement Plan for the school district.

"The 360 West corridor continues to be a hotbed for growth," said Matoaca District representative Rob Thompson, who is also the vice chair of the school board. "... We're fortunate to be in a position where we can proactive in this area."

The new proposal calls for a school that could hold 900 students and would open in fall 2020.

The school would be built on land in Magnolia Green that has been approved for an elementary school, the school system said.

"I think they'll be quite happy," Thompson said. "Since that land was proffered so long ago, people have talked about a school in that area for 10 years now."

According to county housing data, approximately 5,900 homes are expected to be built in the approved residential development pipeline in that area of Chesterfield County.

Officials anticipate these new homes to increase enrollment numbers by roughly 1,500 elementary school-age students by 2030.

"When we built here… we knew that it had a lot of potential for growth," said resident Arrenda Moore. "It's been growing more rapidly than we expected."

Moore said her family moved into the Magnolia Green community because of the growing community, and master plans for a school.

What she didn't anticipate was the fact that plans for the school aren't approved yet.

"We found out about six months ago that the county had not approved the school yet," Moore said. "So then that would bump [the opening] out another couple of years and leave us hanging."

Moore said she's already found another neighborhood to build in that will accommodate her current elementary school student and her ones.

She said the community needs a school because of how many families are moving into this area of the County and impacting the schools.

"Winterpock [Elementary] is overflowing," Moore said. "They have already put in cottages."

"We really needed to be proactive about getting a new school built ahead of time," Thompson said.

If the school in Magnolia Green is approved by the county, the hope is to have it open in the Fall of 2020 along with the already approved Matoaca Elementary School on the current Matoaca Middle West campus.

"It's going to allow us to do a complete redistricting in the southern portion of the Matoaca District from Ettrick all the way over to Grange Hall," Thompson said.

There are also plans to have a larger gym at the school.

"The prototype allows us to put a standard gym in or a county parks and recreation use gym," Thompson said. "They've asked us to put the additional money in it toward putting a community gym in."

The projected cost for the new elementary school is $36.3 million, with $2 million coming from the county for the larger gym.

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