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Paul VI relocation plan approved

First slide

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved a plan for the new Paul VI Catholic High School after the diocese found ways to ease the concerns about increased traffic around the South Riding site.


“Paul VI is like a family. When you outgrow your home, you get a new home.

The diocese will provide $1.5 million to the county for traffic improvements along Braddock Road. Additionally, the diocese added language to the transportation management plan that allows the county to request a revised proposal for traffic easement if the need arises.


During the Nov. 1 meeting, Supervisor Matt Letourneau from the Dulles district expressed his excitement for the school’s move. Not only will Paul VI’s relocation save the county money by moving students out of the public school system, “it’s a benefit to the county to provide (school) choice to our citizens,” said Letourneau, a parishioner of Corpus Christi Church in South Riding.


“Across the board, Paul VI has an outstanding reputation,” he said.


Meeting the new Paul VI


“Paul VI is like a family,” said Head of School Ginny Colwell. “When you outgrow your home, you get a new home.” Though many are sad to leave the longtime Fairfax City location, Colwell sees the move for all its possibilities.


“We (currently) have 16 acres, and are going to have 65 acres,” she said. “We can have a facility that matches the caliber of the students we want to continue to attract.”


The current building was purchased by the diocese from George Mason University in 1983. It previously served as the old Fairfax High School. Now, said Colwell, “we’re getting a building that’s actually ours.”


Colwell describes the new Paul VI as a “21st-century learning environment” with hands-on science labs, an open floor plan, an auditorium that seats 700 and a few movable walls to allow classrooms to combine if needed.


At the heart of the school is a chapel built to hold 180 students. Unlike the makeshift chapel in the current building, “this is going to be a real chapel, with a chapel feel to it,” she said.


Across from the main building, a covered, open-air walkway will lead to the gym complex. Beyond that will be the football field, baseball field and tennis courts.


“We really have a campus plan here,” said Bob Nashed, diocesan planning manager, of the spread-out site plan. “It’s a little bit of a higher education approach to a high school … generated in response to our respect for the (property’s) wetlands.”


Currently, Paul VI’s student population hovers around 1,000 students. In the first phase of construction, the new building will have space for 1,200 students, and later, a full capacity of 2,000. The only room large enough to fit the entire student body will be the gym.


Construction on the $70 million project is set to begin in 2017. At the earliest, the class of 2020 will be the first to graduate from the new facility.


Colwell said memorabilia from the Fairfax building will be given a place of prominence in the South Riding one. We’re not going to forget our history, she said. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016