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News
Antietam Elementary students flying high after radio chat with International Space Station

It took over a year planning and preparation, but then on Monday, December 11, 2017, their ship — the International Space Station — came in.

Students at Antietam Elementary School in Lake Ridge used a Ham Radio to speak with Astronaut Astronaut Mark Vande Hei.

The window to speak to speak to the station was short — about 10 minutes. And the timing had to be just right, too.

As the ISS made it’s approach over Virginia, flying in space at 17,500 mph over the U.S. from west to east, the students put out a call.

“NA1SS, this is KM4TAY for our scheduled contact,” said one student.

After about three tries, the space station came in loud and clear and the audio was piped over a loudspeaker for the more than 600 students that packed the school’s cafeteria to listen. Selected students lined up to ask questions about what life in space is like, about the food astronauts eat, about working in zero gravity, sleeping on a wall, and if an asteroid has ever stricken the station.

Vande Hei answered each question thoughtfully. While he did, the student body sat quietly and listened intently, raising their hands over their heads and waving them to show their excitement.

“We’ve been talking about this on the morning news every day for almost a month to get them ready for this,” said Principal Marcia Wieduwilt.

The school applied to be one of 20 to get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak to the ISS.

In preparation for the event, the administrators purchased a new antenna for the school’s ham radio club to use. About 30 students belong to the club.

News
How Prince William leaders plan to work together to eliminate trailer classrooms in the county’s public schools

WOODBRIDGE — Elected leaders vowed Tuesday night to work across legislative bodies to find new school site for Prince William County students.

More than $163 million is needed over the next 10 years to eliminate trailer or portable classrooms at county schools. That’s in addition to the school division’s 10-year, $1.2 billion capital improvement plan.

School Board members met with the County Board of Supervisors, where they learned the construction of two new middle schools, and 50 new elementary school classrooms would eliminate the need for trailers by 2028.

Until now, leaders had relied on proffers from developers, of donated land inside new housing developments, where new schools could be built. Changes in state law enacted last year prohibit local officials from seeking those new school sites and have forced the county’s school division and Board of Supervisors — the taxing authority — to examine purchasing future school sites.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large urged members of both boards to pressure state General Assembly members to reform a proffer system that leaves their hands tied when it comes to pushing developers for incentives. While the Board of Supervisors has approved far fewer new housing developments over the past year, new homes continue to be built, by right, on previously zoned land.

“The Board of Supervisors approved six units in 2016, not 600, or 60, six. And when you’re not rezoning units, they go and build units designed 30 years ago,” said Stewart. “We’re not approving developments, but that doesn’t mean there is not any development going on.”

The move toward closer collaboration comes after a series of meetings of the Joint County/School Capital Process Team made up of members of the School Board and Board of Supervisors. Woodbridge District Supervisors urged members of both boards to come together sooner than later to work on a funding and land acquisition scheme.

“It seems like we’re all in violent agreement. We want to reduce class sizes, we want to remove trailers, and we want to move forward on land banking because buying it now is cheaper than waiting until later,” said Principi.

Building new additions to schools isn’t the same thing as reducing the number of students per classroom. Prince William County has the highest class sizes in the region.

“I had seven trailers at Vaughn [Elementary School] while I was principal, and then we built a wing, got rid of trailers,” said Occoquan District School Board Representative Lilly Jessie. “The only way you reduce the number of trailers is you have to build another school or build an addition.”

Building a new wing to a school only allows for students in overcrowded classrooms to move to a new classroom. Only the construction of a new school building can eliminate the need for trailers, school board members argued.

Building bigger schools is also a benefit. A push last year by Supervisors Peter Candland and Jeannie Lawson to increase by 500 seats the size of a planned 13th high school saved county taxpayers as much as $180 million.

Historically, the county school division has needed about 20 acres to build an elementary school, 60 for a middle school, and 80 for a high school. But with land becoming scarce, especially in the eastern side of the county, leaders will have to think outside of the box.

“If we’re going to build new schools where they are most needed, where existing schools are the most overcrowded, we may need to build the same schools on a smaller footprint,” said Coles District School Board Representative Willie Deutsch.

That may mean some schools could be built without what has been standard amenities, to include practice sports fields.

News
How NOVA, Prince William County Landfill are working together to create a pipeline of new construction workers for the region

When it comes to talented workers to fill open construction jobs, there just aren’t enough to go around.

Heavy equipment operators are high-demand in the Washington, D.C. region due to new and ongoing construction initiatives in the area. Construction projects like the development and maintenance of buildings, airports, gas and oil pipelines, tunnels, bridges, and roads.

Two road construction initiatives — adding toll lanes on Interstates 66 and 395 in Northern Virginia will create an additional demand for local heavy equipment operators.

The I- 66 project dubbed, Transform 66 – Outside the Beltway will modify nearly 23 miles of I-66 providing two express lanes alongside three regular lanes from I-495 to Route 29 in Gainesville. There will be dedicated express lane access points and space in the median reserved for future transit. The I-66 express lanes are scheduled to open in 2022.

The I-395 project includes extending the Express Lanes for eight miles north from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road to Eads Street in Arlington. The project will also convert the two existing HOV lanes and add an additional third lane to express lanes. These newly extended lanes are on track to open in the Fall of 2019 and the entire I-395 project is set for a summer 2020 completion.

“Two thousand five hundred heavy equipment jobs go unfilled in the region due to a shortage of heavy equipment operators. This shortage is expected to double as projects on Interstate 66 and Interstate 395 begin,” stated Ken Garrison, Executive Director of the Heavy Construction Contractor Association, in an article on Prince William County’s government website. “With the jobs averaging $65,000 to $70,000 a year, that would mean an influx of $325 million into the economy annually and the money would stay in the local economy,” said Ken Garrison,

In an effort to help fill this job demand in our region, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Workforce Development is creating a six-week Heavy Equipment Operator Certification Program to provide students will the skills necessary to safely operate heavy equipment in the construction industry. Melanie Stover, Director of Business Engagement for NOVA said the curriculum development assessment began out of a request from local businesses and the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA).

“The HCCA estimates the need for heavy equipment operators to be in the thousands for our area, due to contracted construction projects. Heavy equipment operators not only work on buildings but also infrastructure projects, such as road and bridges, and land development.”

Partnering with Construction Industry Experts

NOVA Workforce Development partnered with Mike Steigerwald a Training Specialist from The Lane Construction Corporation on the development of their Heavy Equipment Operator Program curriculum.

“Steigerwald was highly recommended by the HCCA for his focus on equipment safety and industry certifications,” said Esther Perantoni, Director of Curriculum Design and Implementation for NOVA Workforce. “We didn’t want to just create a program – we wanted to create a pipeline that would give students the certifications they need to succeed in the construction industry and provide area businesses properly trained resources.”

Stover agrees. “We want to provide our students a jumpstart to their career and an accelerated approach to the construction industry. We already have businesses like Atlantic Contracting and Materials Inc., Superior Paving Corporation and SW Rogers Company wanting to interview our students towards the end of our program for jobs.”

Asked what the Heavy Equipment Operator Program entails, Perantoni said, “Students will graduate from our program with the following National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certifications: NCCER Core, NCCER Heavy Equipment Level 1 and VA Basic Flagger. These are national and industry-wide certifications which are a great value to our students.”

Collaborating with local resources

“Students will be able to get hands-on experience using various pieces of heavy equipment at Prince William County Landfill,” said Stover.

The landfill already provides local fire departments training in the trench for confined space rescues.

“The Solid Waste Division is pleased to be a resource for job training and economic development in the County,” Deborah Campbell, Public Relations Specialist for Prince William County Solid Waste Division said.

“We often work with universities such as George Mason, Virginia Tech and James Madison, as well as Prince William County schools on projects that help make the landfill a valuable community resource and learning experience,” said Campbell.

Empowering students

NOVA Workforce’s first Heavy Equipment Operator Program is on track to launch in February or March of 2018. Classes will have a ratio of eight students to one instructor. Program participants are required to be 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license and have transportation to get to various work sites.

“We already have people waiting in the queue for our program to begin. Veterans, women support organizations and local skills sourcing centers have all shown interest in this new program. We foresee this initial program as being a launch pad for additional heavy equipment operator programs as we continue to move forward” said Peratoni.

Interested participants will be able to find information and certification costs on NOVA’s Workforce Development website in the coming months once the program details are solidified.

News
NOVA-Woodbridge campus to host Military Appreciation Day event

From Northern Virginia Community College:

The Woodbridge Campus of Northern Virginia Community College will host a Military Appreciation Day, in honor of those who have and are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. With 15 percent of NOVA students classified as veterans or active duty personnel, NOVA’s Office of Military and Veterans Services (OMVS) has continuously assisted active duty service members, veterans and family members to achieve their education and career goals.

The event will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at NOVA-Woodbridge, 2645 College Drive, Woodbridge.

NOVA will honor guest speaker for the event, Rappahannock County resident Chilton “Chilly” Raiford for his service as a gunner on the USS Randolph in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. While serving his country, Raiford was severely wounded and survived two Kamikaze attacks and remained on the ship until the war ended. At 94, he shares his experiences with veterans and young people. (more…)

News
Stafford county to reduce class sizes for middle schools

From Stafford County Public Schools:

STAFFORD, VA – Stafford County Public Schools announces improvement in middle school class sizes for 2017-2018 school year. As of September 30, 2017, middle school enrollment increased by 150 students since September 30, 2016. Compared to 2016-2017, the number of core classes with 20 or fewer students decreased by 36 and the number of core classes with 28 or more students decreased
by 34. The number of core classes with 21-27 students increased by 90 classes.

In comparing the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 average class size by department level, SCPS slightly decreased the overall average in every core subject area except English, which increased by one from 24.9 last year to 25.9 this year. Additional information is included in the 2017-2018 Stafford County Public Schools’ Class Size Report. For more information on Stafford County Public Schools’ Class Size Report, please log onto www.staffordschools.net and click on the October 24 agenda under School Board.

News
‘Chairman Ryan Sawyers is not present again’

From an email: 

HEADS UP: The regular Prince William School Board is meeting tonight. Chairman Ryan Sawyers is not present again. This means that he has not attended 3 of the School Board’s 4 meetings for the 2017-2018 school year. He’s missed the 9/6, 10/4 & 10/18 meetings. The only meeting he attended was 9/20.

From Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits: 

Chairman Sawyers is absent tonight. The meeting is being run effectively by the Vice Chair. No votes have yet been taken that did not win overwhelming and/or unanimous approval. Thus, his absence has not had a significant impact on any outcomes so far.

The School Board today also canceled a public hearing on the sale of excess land at the site of the 13th high school in Gainesville. 

News
Fredericksburg woman wins car, declines prize and donates to Autism program

From an email from Stafford County Public Schools:

April Burch of Fredericksburg wins the B101.5/Pohanka Nissan Rogue Giveaway…Then declines prize in a terrific gesture of love

FREDERICKSBURG, VA – Centennial Broadcasting, II, LLC’s B101.5 Radio and Pohanka Nissan in Fredericksburg, concluded a month long contest on Saturday, October 14th, with one contestant winning a new Nissan Rogue 3-year lease. In an unexpected twist of events, the winner declined the grand prize.

April Burch of Fredericksburg, Virginia, was one of over 50 qualifiers trying their hand at winning the Nissan Rogue 3-year lease. April survived a reverse drawing that quickly eliminated all but the last 10 qualifiers. She was the 4th out of the 10 to reach into a bag and pull out a key FOB that matched the Rogue, making her the grand prize winner.

Shortly after the contest’s end, April, along with her family, made the decision to opt-out of taking the Nissan Rogue and asked Pohanka Nissan’s Tim Pohanka if she could take the cash value and donate it to the Autism/Developmental Delay program at Conway Elementary. (more…)

News
Update: Schools cancel public hearing on sale of excess land at 13th high school site

At its public meeting on Wednesday night, the Prince William County School Board is set to approve the sale of four and a half acres of unwanted land at the site of its soon-to-be-built 13th high school to NOVEC.

The new school will be located off Progress Court in Gainesville, near Jiffy Lube Live.

From school board documents: 

Summary: The Prince William County School Board recently purchased 101.5 acres of land for the 13th High School. Due to the extension of future University Boulevard, several acres of land will not be usable for the 13th High School. Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) owns and operates a substation on property adjacent to the unusable land and needs to expand operations to serve the high school, as well as other new businesses in the area. NOVEC has requested to purchase approximately 4.46 acres of the unneeded property for that expansion at 8225 Linton Hall Road and 7801 Limestone Road.

The School Board paid $158,558 an acre for the area of land across the future University Boulevard and, in turn, is selling the land to NOVEC for the same per-acre value, which amounts to a total of $707,168.

The School Board held a public hearing on the sale of excess School Board property and retention of proceeds from the sale on October 18, 2017.

From NOVEC spokeswoman Priscilla Knight: 

“…NOVEC’s customer base is growing in Prince William County.  The extra acreage will allow us to expand the existing substation at Linton Hall Road and Limestone Road to better serve our customers.”

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Kelly Leadership Center, located at 14715 Bristow Road at Independent Hill.

Update: 

Schoo officials tell us they have pulled tonight’s sale of land to NOVEC from the agenda, so there will be no public hearing. 

From Prince William County Public Schools: 

The following agenda items have been removed from tonight’s School Board meeting agenda. Staff will be re-evaluating the sale price.

10. Public Hearing

10.01 – Public Hearing – Sale of Excess Vacant Land – Portion of 13th High School

14. Adoption of Consent Agenda

14.09 – Sale of Excess Vacant Portion of 13th High School Land

News
Marsteller ‘evacuated as a precaution due to the fire alarm and smoky haze’

From an email: 

Marsteller MS, 14000 Sudley Manor Dr., Bristow, has been evacuated as a precaution due to the fire alarm and smoky haze in building. The Fire Department is responding. All are safe. Please check website for updates, https://marstellerms.pwcs.edu/.

Updated 12:45 p.m.

Staff and students have returned to the building at Marsteller Middle School following a precautionary evacuation. Normal activities have resumed. The alarm was triggered by smoke from a copy machine, which was removed from the building by the Fire Department.

Photo: Marsteller Middle School PTO

News
Brann steps aside: ‘It has been a pleasure to serve as the Acting School Board member’

Shawn Brann will be seated on the dais for a Prince William County School Board for the last time tonight. 

The acting Nokesville School Board member will step aside when Gil Trenum, the elected school board member for the district returns after a 1-year military deployment to Africa. 

From Brann: 

I will be serving as the Acting Board member for the Brentsville District for the meeting tomorrow night; Mr. Trenum will be back by the meeting on October 18.

It has been a pleasure to serve as the Acting School Board member for the Brentsville District over the past year.  I did my best to fill the big shoes of Mr. Trenum while he served our country.  As a Brentsville District resident, I look forward to having our most experienced School Board member return to the dais.  I appreciate the support that I received from so many over the past year, and the compliments that I have received as this year comes to a close.  This experience only further validated my belief that education has transformative power and can make a difference in the lives of our students.

Trenum’s 2o16 deployment did not come without controversy from his fellow school board members. 

Chairman Ryan Sawyers wanted the board to appoint a temporary fill-in for Trenum. But Trenum, backed by Republicans, wanted to choose his temporary appointment — which ended up being Brann.

State Senator Scott Surrovell requested a legal opinion on the matter from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring which stated the School Board was obligated to fill the seat and could not leave it empty until Trenum’s return. 


Fall into the New Classes here at MPCC

  • Manassas Park Community Center
  • Address: 99 Adams Street Manassas Park, Va.
  • Phone: 703-335-8872

The fall season conjures scenarios of bountiful baskets of freshly picked apples, pumpkins, and enchanting autumn foliage! It also brings a whole batch of new classes here at the Manassas Park Community Center, including the Road to Wellness, Focused Awareness Meditation, Bollywood and Classical Indian Dance, and Outdoor Yoga! Also, there are several music classes for the music lovers too!

These new classes focus on all types of music, dance, and whole-body wellness. One thing we all have in common as residents of Northern Virginia is that we are all under a lot of stress. Regardless of the reasons for that stress, we all need to find something to help us reduce it.

Several new classes here at the Community Center to help you better handle your stress include Focused Awareness Meditation and the Road to Wellness. Taught by Karen David of Live Life Well, LLC, and using her years of experience as a registered nurse, she uses her medical experience to help people change their lives! She says that when you believe in you, you will have the ability to not only believe in something but to reach optimal wellness through daily personal wellness habits.

“I base my classes on my own journey, and when I was spread super thin, my own health suffered,” Karen shared, “I defined my own values of relationships, defined my boundaries, and my values.” Those became the foundation for her Road to Wellness class.
“I ask my students and my clients to evaluate the boundaries they are forming. I help them to realize we have gone from looking and observing to just reacting, and I can help them to honestly answer questions about why they made their plan the way they did,” Karen added.

She further pointed out that it is great to take care of others, but not to forget to take care of yourself too. ‘Take care of others, but do not forget to ask what I have done for me,’ has become her mantra!

Appreciating music is another way to relieve stress. Called the “great soother,” music can help you process your emotions. Sometimes just turning up that radio, and screaming the words to your favorite song is just the thing to help you get past a bad day as you trudge home after a long day of work.

The new Music Appreciation, Music Theory, Jazz Appreciation, Music Ensemble classes here at the Community Center are all taught by a professional musician who uses his own experiences as the foundation to help others to love music the way he does.
Most music lovers have their own ideas and reasons for liking particular types of music, but his classes help students focus on the history of the particular genres of music while highlighting major composers of the day. Relax and enjoy the conversations, learn new techniques, and maybe even become more proficient on a musical instrument you have always wanted to learn to play!

Consider trying a new and different type of dance class also offered this fall at the Community Center this fall. Options include Bollywood and Classical Indian Dance, Hand Dancing, and Line Dancing with Scotty Inman. Come alone or with a partner to learn the basics of each dance: each with its own elegant style, charm, and fun dance styles.

As residents of Northern Virginia, we can all agree that the stress we encounter daily is something we cannot ignore. However, by trying one of the new fall classes offered at the Manassas Park Community Center, we could focus elsewhere, learn something new, and have lots of fun too!

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, VA. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility is home to basketball courts, a swimming pool, wellness areas, and 29 special events and programs. For more information visit us at ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call at 703-335-8872.

News
North Stafford High School’s second annual mock judicial trial

From Stafford County Public Schools: 

Stafford County Public Schools is pleased to announce North Stafford High School’s second annual mock judicial trial. NSHS criminal justice students will host a morning of mock trials in which they will participate as the jury and accused. Stafford County prosecutors and local defense attorneys will try the cases, which will consist of social media threats, distracted driving which causes injury, and possession and overdose of drugs.

The Honorable [Stafford County Circuit Court] Judge Michael Levy will preside.

WHEN: Friday, September 29, 2017, 7:45 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.

WHERE: North Stafford High School
839 Garrisonville Road
Stafford, VA 22554

News
School Board censures Sawyers over emails

Prince William County School Board Chairman At-large Ryan Sawyers was censured by his Board on Wednesday.

The School Board passed this resolution put forward by Gainesville School Board Member Alyson Satterwhite.

Sawyers sued School Board Attorney Mary McGowan after she played a role in defending the School Board in another lawsuit filed against Patriot High School Principal Micheal Bishop concerning a little league baseball team.

Satterwhite and others on the board allege emails contained as evidence in Sawyers’ were privileged and confidential information only to be viewed by School Board members, appropriate only for discussion in closed meetings.

The censure alleges Sawyers, therefore, broke the School Board’s code of ethics.

Sawyers’ lawsuit against McGowan is one of two filed this year. Sawyers also is suing Prince William County Schools Superintendent Steven Walts, alleging he would not provide access to emails of his predecessor, Milton Johns.

Sawyers recused himself from the meeting before the vote. He appeared unfazed by the measure.

“Mrs. Satterwhite, you’ve called for my resignation twice. I’m not worried about this,” said Sawyers during the meeting.

Two weeks ago, with Sawyers absent from the meeting, the School Board addressed his order to remove McGowan from the dais where she sits alongside other School Board members to provide legal advice during meetings.

School Board members bucked the Chairman’s order, and McGowan on Wednesday night was seated once again alongside School Board members.

However, unlike others on the dais, she was missing her nametag. We’re told it would be back by the next meeting.

Updated

From Prince William County Republican Committee Chairman Dottie Miller: 

“Tonight’s bipartisan censure of Ryan Sawyers is a courageous move by this Democrat-controlled School Board and a historic reprimand for his reckless abuse of authority,” said Prince William County GOP Chairman Dottie Miller. “Prince William deserves a School Board Chairman that is completely focused on education and our students, but instead, Ryan Sawyers has used our children as a tool for his personal grudges and a platform for higher office. Our kids deserve better.

Miller continued, “Since Sawyers was sworn-in as chairman of the School Board in December of 2015, he has been the model of divisive leadership. Whether it be teacher intimidation, federal investigation threats, disrespect of reservist Gil Trenum and our veterans, retaliation of a Patriot High School principal, petty lawsuits, or a disregard for ethics, Chairman Sawyers has been more partisan warrior than consensus builder. Our schools face very serious issues, and Sawyers is neglecting them. This censure should be a call for our community to demand that Ryan Sawyers take his job seriously or step down immediately.”

News
Kline developer proffers funds for trailer classroom at Signal Hill Elementary School

MANASSAS — Stanley Martin Homes has offered $45,000 for the addition a new trailer classroom at Signal Hill Elementary School.

Under a new purchasing contract with school division, its enough to purchase a single-wide trailer.

The cash is apart of proffers for the Kline Development, a mixed-use community to include 400 new homes planned at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Liberia Avenue outside Manassas.

Officials have yet to approve a rezoning for the land that would clear the way for the project, which is scheduled to go before the Prince William County Planning Commission on Oct. 4.

While county school officials have no say on whether or not the project is approved, they made it clear they don’t want the new homes because it would cause overcrowding conditions at nearby schools.

As we’ve reported, “If built, the Kline development will bring an estimated 238 new students to Signal Hill Elementary, Parkside Middle, and Osbourn Park High schools. By the 2020-21 school year, Signal Hill and Parkside are slated to be operating at over 100 percent capacity. Five years later, the estimated capacity numbers at each school jump to 125 and 110 percent, respectively.”

School officials this week tell us the $45,000 would be enough to add a new modular, or trailer classroom to Signal Hill Elementary School. From Prince William County Public Schools

“…the applicant shall make a monetary contribution to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors in the amount of $45,000 for the installation of a new modular classroom at Signal Hill elementary School.’

Stanley Martin Homes did not respond to a request for comment on this post.

In addition to the new homes, the proposal calls for building commercial buildings along Prince William Parkway across from a Harris Teeter grocery store in Manassas City. For these structures, supervisors must also approve multiple special-use permits for a Sheetz gas station, an unnamed drive-through fast food restaurant, a CVS Pharmacy with a drive-through window, and a self-storage facility

News
Updated: Mason celebrates 20 years in Prince William, to announce new research center, brewery, apartments

The Science and Technology Campus of George Mason University outside Manassas will turn 20 years old this month.

Formerly the George Mason University Prince William Campus, several new amenities are planned for the campus to include a new research center, a 350-unit apartment complex, and a brewery.

More in an announcement from the university:

George Mason University plans to mark the 20th anniversary of its Science and Technology Campus in Manassas on Wednesday, Sept. 20, with a celebration including university and community leaders.

George Mason President Ángel Cabrera and prominent leaders in business and research from SciTech’s past and present will participate in a tribute to 20 years of progress that helped Mason become ranked among the top research universities in the United States as determined by the Carnegie Classification System.

One of the day’s featured speakers will be Temple Douglas, who was a high school student in the Aspiring Scientist Summer Internship Program on the SciTech Campus when she first devised an early detection test for Lyme disease.

Douglas is now at Virginia Tech working on a Ph.D. after getting her bachelor’s degree in physics from Princeton. She credited her time on Mason’s SciTech campus for changing her life.

Another speaker will include Mary Ellen O’Toole, the renowned former senior FBI profiler, and director of the Mason Forensic Science Program.

The SciTech Campus continues to grow, with plans underway to expand STEM instruction and research. Another 2,500 students and close to 100 new faculties are expected on the SciTech Campus within the next decade, with many of them coming for STEM-intensive programs.

Other plans for the SciTech Campus neighborhood include a research center, a brewery and a 350-unit apartment complex that will house graduate students, faculty, and staff.

Additional plans involving the SciTech Campus will be announced at the ceremony, which takes place at Verizon Auditorium in Colgan Hall from 2-3:30 p.m. 10900 University Blvd, Manassas VA 20110.

We asked George Mason University Science and Technolgy Campus Director of Campus Relations Molly Grove about the brewery, and new apartments coming to the campus, noted in the announcement above. 

She responded and told us those amenities are being built nearby the campus, but not necessarily on campus. 

From Grove: 

These two questions brewery and dorms are specific to “Other plans for the SciTech Campus neighborhood include a research center, a brewery and a 350-unit apartment complex that will house graduate students, faculty and staff.”

Neighborhood not referring to campus specifically but what is in and around Innovation Park. Brewery is Heritage Brewery [anchoring the nearby Landing at Canon Branch Development in Manassas] and Farm Brew Live on Rt. 28. [The] 3500unit apartment is complex Coleman Rector is building off Wellington Road.

The research center will be in the Volgenau School of Engineering to be held in leased space on Innovation Drive. I have not been informed on what type of research yet. This fall semester we are holding classes in mechanical engineering and bio-engineering on our campus for the first time.

News
New contract awarded for trailer classrooms

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Prince William County’s next batch of trailer classrooms will come from North Carolina.

The school division this week approved a new contract with Modular Technologies, of Kinston, N.C. for the future acquisition of trailer, or modular classrooms, as the division calls them.

There are no plans to add to the division’s fleet of 211 portable trailer classrooms dispatched to schools across the county, said schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer.

However, when it does, the division has agreed to pay Modular Technologies up to $48,000 for a single-wide trailer, and up to $62,000 for a double-wide trailer. Those prices include extras like carpeting, siding, and delivery costs. (more…)

News
School Board members fight to save attorney’s seat

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — The first school board meeting of the new school year in Prince William County and, already, there is more infighting among those elected to lead.

The county School Board on Wednesday night spent the better part of an hour debating whether or not it should allow School Board Attorney Mary McGowan to keep her seat alongside School Board members on the dais during public meetings.

A series of emails sent by School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers on Wednesday morning demanded McGowan be removed from the head table, and he asserted that he alone as school board chairman had the authority to remove her.

McGowan has had the job of defending the School Board in two lawsuits involving Sawyers. Earlier this year, Sawyers sued School Division Superintendent Steven Walts after he didn’t give Sawyers access to emails by his predecessor Milton C. Johns. (more…)

News
Updated: Officials approve Colgan High School speed zone

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A new school speed zone could be coming to the one-year-old Charles Colgan Sr. High School.

County officials in public documents state there have been multiple requests for a 35 mph zone in front of the school located on Route 234, near Hoadly Road at Independent Hill. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled tomorrow, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. at the Prince William County Board of Supervisors meeting at the Prince William County Government Center in Woodbridge.

The zone, if enacted, would slow traffic on Route 234 from 55 p.m. to 35 p.m. on weekdays when school is in session from 7 to 8 a.m., and again from 1:40 to 2:40 p.m.

The change will impact an estimated 6,000 cars per day on the busy four-lane arterial roadway. The speed zone would be in effect 1,000 feet from the school building and would encompass a portion of the roadway that includes nearby businesses such as a BP gas station, and a Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative office, a fire and rescue station, and homes. (more…)

News
Kline development to bring more children to county schools

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — When it comes to the Kline property development, Prince Wiliam County Public Schools made itself clear.

“The School Division is not in support of any rezoning that increases student capacity at schools already at or in excess of 100% capacity or a rezoning that causes student capacity at any school to exceed 100% capacity, unless proffers sufficient to mitigate the impact to the School Division are received,” stated Prince William schools Supervisor of Land Acquisition and CIP Planning in a November 3, 2016 document to the school board.

Stanley Martin Homes proposed county officials rezone 100 acres of land at the intersection of Prince William Parkway, Wellington Road, and Liberia Avenue just outside Manassas so that it may build 400 new homes — 279 townhomes and 121 single family units. The land is the site of an old Kline dairy farm not in use since 1989, and today is the site of Cherokee Winds Farm, a horse training, and boarding center.

If built, the Kline development will bring an estimated 238 new students to Signal Hill Elementary, Parkside Middle, and Osbourn Park High schools. By the 2020-21 school year, Signal Hill and Parkside are slated to be operating at over 100 percent capacity. Five years later, the estimated capacity numbers at each school jump to 125 and 110 percent, respectively. (more…)

News
Covington-Harper Elementary School dedicated, duo honored

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — The dedication of a new elementary school was a celebration of community and racial unity.

Residents, teachers, school administrators, and elected officials gathered Thursday, Aug. 24 for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Covington-Harper Elementary School.

The school is jointly named after longtime educator and Prince William County School Board member Betty Covington, and for the first black man ever to be elected in Prince William County John Harper, who also served on the county school board.

“This is the first time a white woman and black man have their name on a public school in Prince William County, in Virginia, and possibly the nation,” said Harper. “This is history you’re watching.” (more…)

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