School and county leaders broke ground today on the 13th middle school in Chesterfield County Public Schools, the largest school system in central Virginia. While the school is referred to currently as the West Area Middle School, its permanent name will be chosen before the school opens for students in August 2025.
The three-story school is being built in the Matoaca District on 105 acres next to Westerleigh Parkway. Virginia Public School Authority bonds are the main source of funds for the school, which is expected to cost almost $100 million. The remainder of construction dollars are coming from other local sources.
“The facility that we’re about to break ground on will support 21st-century learning and 21st-century success for all students, teachers and staff members,” said Ryan Harter, Chesterfield County School Board member representing the Matoaca District. “As a former teacher, I understand the energy and the excitement that a new school brings to the community. … Great things are happening in Chesterfield County, and we look forward to the great things that will happen in this brand-new school.”
Several speakers, including Superintendent Mervin B. Daugherty, noted that joint leadership by the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors and School Board enabled construction on the new school to begin sooner than originally expected. “This is an exciting time in Chesterfield County,” Dr. Daugherty said. “I want to thank our School Board, Board of Supervisors and [County Administrator] Dr. Casey. This is another demonstration of collaboration and teamwork … to make sure we have needed space for academic learning and great learning environments.”
Dorothy Heffron, who represents the Clover Hill District on the School Board, thanked the community for advocating for students: “This new middle school and the new Falling Creek Middle that will open a year from now and all the schools included in the 2022 bond referendum demonstrate the importance that this community places on public education. … We appreciate your ongoing support for Chesterfield County Public Schools.”
Built for 1,800 students, the 254,084-square-foot West Area Middle school positions sixth, seventh and eighth graders on separate floors. Each “grade house” contains 19 regular classrooms and five science labs, as well as dispersed conference rooms, teacher workrooms and offices. In addition to the grade houses, an exploratory wing offers electives in such courses as art, world language, technology/fabrication, business and family and consumer science.
The school’s main entrance includes a security vestibule flanked by administrative offices and the counseling department. The school includes a 1,000-seat auditorium, 650-student capacity cafeteria, 1,200-seat gym with adjacent locker rooms and an auxiliary gym. A music suite next to the auditorium includes spaces for band, chorus, orchestra and drama. The media center is located on the second floor next to the grade houses.
The school site will be developed to include an eight-lane running track around a soccer field, two play fields, two softball fields and tennis and basketball courts. The site will also include parking, drop-off areas and roadwork.
Go to oneccps.org for more information about Chesterfield County Public Schools.