February 1, 2023
Nearly two years since breaking ground, Prince George County Public Schools celebrated the completion and opening of the county's newest elementary school during a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event hosted at Middle Road Elementary School on Wednesday, February 1, 2023.
Prince George County Public Schools representatives and staff joined the Prince George School Board, Prince George Board of Supervisors, dignitaries, and representatives from the school's designers, Moseley Architects, construction firm, Loughridge and Company, LLC, and the community for the special ceremony inside the building and in front of the building's front doors. The event culminated years of thoughtful collaboration and engagement between PGCPS, county representatives, and the community as the school division prepared the facility to welcome students and staff in approximately two weeks.
SEE MORE PHOTOS: PGCPS on Flickr
Middle Road Elementary School features a student capacity of 850, which will support current and future students' educational needs as Prince George County continues to grow. The new campus will feature industry-standard safety and security measures to protect students and staff, adequate separation of public and private spaces, and use of natural light to illuminate parts of the school, helping to reduce energy consumption.
The new school is also being built with the learning principles of today in mind, where student collaboration and engagement are highlighted. Additionally, the campus will have built-in flexibility to allow for learning spaces to be adjusted to best support the needs of students.
"Years ago, I used to cut hay in the field this elementary school now calls home. It is truly amazing to see this school now reside here and benefit our children and community for decades to come," Prince George County School Board Chairman Cecil M. Smith said. "When I came on the school board, I had an objective, and I expressed that to the school division's leadership: 'Where are we going in the next 50 years?' As the Prince George County Board of Supervisors continues to lead the way in the growth of our county and more development comes to our community, we have more opportunities ahead of us. The enthusiasm for this project has been overwhelming, led by Dr. Pennycuff and the team of developers, engineers, and school division staff. I am excited for our students and teachers to begin learning in this building in only a few weeks."
“Our division celebrates the historic occasion of the opening of an extra special place for our children to come spend their days, learn within beautiful classrooms, and play on the fields, playgrounds, and inside the gymnasium,” Division Superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff said. “As we celebrate the opening of this school that has been in the making for many years, we also celebrate the collaboration between the Prince George County School Board and Board of Supervisors as they came together to help make this moment possible.”
"I am grateful for the many people who helped make today a historic moment for Prince George County," PGCPS Core Committee, Design Process Committee, and School Board member Christopher A. Johnson said. "These include our board members and members of the Prince George Board of Supervisors coming together to determine a site for our new school, our partners with Moseley Architects and Loughridge Construction, and all of those who have helped make this happen. I hope it is only the first of many new schools we can have for our children and families in the future."
"Today is a milestone in the educational history of Prince George County and an exciting time for the students, teachers, and our community," Prince George County Board of Supervisors Chairman Donald R. Hunter said. "I was fortunate enough to be a member of the Prince George County Public Schools Core Committee, and I am proud to see the fruition of what was born out of this committee. As we enter this new school, we look to grow and nurture our future generations who are not yet with us today. The building of this elementary school is a part of our community's journey, one that promises continuous improvement that makes each generation smarter, stronger, and more compassionate than the next."
After Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony and a special flag-raising event led by members of Fort Lee’s Transportation School, the community was invited to partake in a special reception inside the school's cafeteria. After enjoying refreshments, division staff provided guided tours to attendees, showcasing specific educational innovations in the building, including expansive collaborative learning spaces in each wing of the Pre-K-5 school and additional areas for reading and math interventionists and other resources to support student learning.
When students begin their first day of classes inside the 98,000-square foot building on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, it will also mark the end of William A. Walton Elementary School's time as a center of elementary learning. After over 50 years and decades of Prince George County students walking its corridors, the campus-style facility has reached the end of its useful life as a school. Once the transition is complete, Prince George County Public Schools will return the facility to Prince George County.
Following the mid-week ceremony, crews will begin moving boxes and other materials to the new school while also allowing time for teachers to set up their new classrooms ahead of the first day of school for Middle Road Elementary School students on February 21.
Transition to Middle Road Elementary Information
For the current 2022-23 School Year, students currently attending William A. Walton Elementary School will attend Middle Road Elementary beginning February 21. Ahead of the new school's opening, students at Walton Elementary will learn asynchronously on Thursday, February 16, and Friday, February 17, 2023. Only students at Walton Elementary will not report to school on these two days.
Additionally, current Walton Elementary students and their families are invited to Middle Road Elementary, located at 5400 Middle Road, for a special open house event on Friday, February 17, 2023, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This special session will allow families to tour the school, see where their child's classroom is located, and experience the new facility firsthand before its first day of school on February 21.
Looking Toward the 2023-24 School Year
As the district looks forward to the upcoming 2023-24 School Year beginning August 21, 2023, Prince George County Public Schools remains actively engaged in its boundary adjustment project to establish new elementary boundaries for the next school year and beyond. This project has been ongoing since the spring of 2022 and has involved soliciting input from our school community in preparation for the opening of Middle Road Elementary and the 2023-24 School Year.
On Thursday, January 19, 2023, the Prince George School Board selected its option for elementary school boundaries for the upcoming school year. These boundaries will be used to determine elementary school assignments for students beginning in the 2023-24 School Year.
More information about the district’s boundary adjustment project can be found on the district’s website.
For more information about Middle Road Elementary School, including images before and during the construction phase and Wednesday's groundbreaking event, visit the division's website at http://www.pgs.k12.va.us.