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County News

Posted on: October 19, 2023

Chesterfield Selects Site for New Western Area High School

Oct. 19, 2023

Board of Supervisors

Following a thorough evaluation of several other parcels and guided by data on projected population growth, Chesterfield has decided to construct its new western area high school on county-owned property along Duval Road.

The selected site is located south of Horsepen Creek, about 1,600 feet west of the intersection of Duval and Otterdale roads.

Among the many advantages of the approximately 120-acre property, Chesterfield will save time and money by not having to negotiate a private land acquisition, positioning Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) to open the new high school by August 2027.

That’s important because the 2,400-seat school, which was approved by voters as part of the 2022 bond referendum, will bring much-needed relief to Cosby High School.

Cosby is operating above 100% of its design capacity. It opened in 2006 and is the county’s most recently constructed new high school. (A replacement for Clover Hill High opened at its current location in 2010).

“In the many conversations I’ve had with parents and other constituents in the western Matoaca District, alleviating the capacity shortfall at Cosby is a consensus top priority,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Kevin P. Carroll. “Selecting the Duval Road site allows the school division to immediately begin design work on the new high school and expedites the project’s timetable to the greatest extent possible. It also assures our families that relief is on the way. My fellow board members and I share the community’s sense of urgency in getting this project started.”

At its monthly meeting next Wednesday, Oct. 25, the Board of Supervisors will initiate a process to permit locating a school on the Duval Road property, which is currently zoned residential. It will include community meetings, a traffic study and public hearings before both the board and planning commission.      

To address enrollment increases driven by residential growth in the western Route 360 corridor, Chesterfield also plans to open a 1,800-seat middle school in 2025 and a 1,000-seat elementary school in 2026 on county-owned land east of the future Powhite Parkway Extension.

“Chesterfield County Public Schools — already the largest school system in central Virginia — is growing because families want their children educated in supportive, innovative schools,” said School Board Chair Ann Coker. “Opening new schools and improving existing schools is vital to the continued success of public education in our community. Chesterfield County expects and deserves a well-resourced school system.”

The Upper Magnolia Green East property was acquired by the county in 2020 and rezoned last year, primarily for use as a site for new schools and a planned public library.

Under its current zoning, the county is required to construct a North-South Collector road between Duval Road and Westerleigh Parkway prior to the opening of the new elementary school. That’s one of several transportation improvements planned to accommodate vehicle traffic generated by the three schools.

With frontage on both Duval Road and the North-South Collector, the new high school campus could have multiple access points, allowing for smoother traffic flow during arrival and dismissal periods.

As it does in conjunction with the opening of every new school, CCPS will adjust student attendance boundaries and bus routes prior to August 2027 to balance enrollment and limit the traffic impact on area residents as much as possible.

Part of the expected increase in daily trips associated with the high school will be mitigated by eliminating the permitted residential uses on the Duval Road site. In the meantime, the Board of Supervisors is considering an additional significant reduction of residential units from the remainder of the Upper Magnolia Green East property.

That would more than offset the high school’s traffic impact, while also providing environmental benefits by reducing the amount of impervious surface and increasing natural stormwater filtration in the Upper Swift Creek Watershed.

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