Chesterfield plans to build new small schools

Posted at 6:28 PM, Jun 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-07 18:28:21-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - A new plan aimed at shaping the future of Chesterfield County Public Schools could mean smaller school buildings with fewer students.

In fact, the county is working on a Comprehensive Plan, which includes a Facilities Plan. That's basically a blueprint for things like schools, libraries and parks in the county.

As part of that 2035 plan, eight new schools -- of all types -- with close to two dozen existing schools would be completely overhauled.

Steve Haasch, a planning manager, said smaller school sizes can have a positive impact on students. In addition, Haasch said the idea is to use elementary facilities in neighborhoods as community assets.

"By showing some reinvestment into these elementary schools that are a little older, we can hopefully spark private investment into the surrounding communities as well,” said Haasch.

However, Haasch said that  before the school system's plan can be inked permanently, they need to hear from Chesterfield parents.

That’s why they’re posting the Comprehensive Plan and Facilities Plan online by Monday. 

"It's very critical we get citizen input," said Haasch. "We take it seriously. The plan is only going to be successful if we have the support of the community and residents here."

Additionally, Hasch said county leaders hope to receive feedback from the community, so they can include those comments at the Planning Commission's next work session on June 19.

CBS 6 News' Shelby Brown caught up with parent Kimberly Kern Thursday as her family headed to her daughter’s graduation from Midlothian High School.

She said she still thrilled about the school system’s new vision since she has two other children in middle and elementary schools.

“I think it’s great," said Kern. "I think teachers can give students more attention and they can have an environment that is not as overwhelming. To have that could promote less bullying because you could have more supervision."