by Layla Abdi
Over the past couple of years, overpopulation in many area schools has led FCPS to try and tackle the issues with new buildings. Stuart’s recent flood of students has now brought the question of buildings within the school’s walls. Are Stuart facilities matching up to the needs of the growing school?
Whether bathroom stalls or water fountains, Stuart has had its fair share of complaints on utilities. FCPS Facility Planning Services are responsible for “projections of student enrollment, assessments of facilities capacity, recommended school closings and adjustments to school attendance areas, and recommended new schools and other capital improvements,” according to the FCPS website.
Recently, Stuart has had more major facility problems. A water pipe burst resulted in many hallways being covered in water. “During my business exam, we heard a noise, and when the fire alarm sounded, there was a gush of water from the ceiling. It was really surprising,” said junior Khadra Omar.
On April 28, a transformer explosion led to a school-wide power outage. Lunch was brought in from nearby Bailey’s Elementary School, and the school day went on with a normal schedule. In the case of these unexpected situations, the administration tries to find a solution that will not disturb instructional time.
“Even with the power outage, I was still able to take my IB exam. This isn’t the first time it has occurred, and it didn’t really affect me that much,” Omar said. One answer to the solution is a better maintenance of the existing facilities.
Recent Fairfax County high Schools that have or are still going under renovation are Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and George C. Marshall High School. According to the Jefferson website, renovation began in the spring of 2013 and is looking to be finished by a target date of Fall 2016. Marshall completed its renovation in March 2015, when the school had a reopening, according to fcnp.com.
While the question of a Stuart renewal remains unanswered, the administration does have plans to address future problems. “I have located funding for interior cameras to be installed this summer,” Principal Penny Gros said noting that, “Our surrounding jurisdictions…all use interior cameras in their schools.”
Finally, Gros encourages students to take care of the school. “One thing I think is really critical moving forward is that [we] really… model for everyone what we expect and that we speak up when we something that is not right…If we are able to correct problems immediately, it really I think, there is research to show that it does minimize vandalism and poor treatment when the facility is in excellent condition.”
photo courtesy of twitter.com