Construction to start on $95M, three-story middle school near Moseley

CCPS West Area MS 1

Construction is set to start next month on the to-be-named West Area Middle School in the Upper Magnolia Green area. (Images courtesy CCPS)

Chesterfield County is preparing to dig in on its newest middle school, one of two in the works that are taking such buildings to new heights.

A groundbreaking ceremony planned for Aug. 9 will mark the start of construction on what’s tentatively referred to as the West Area Middle School in Chesterfield’s Upper Magnolia Green area. 

The school name is temporary, as voting will take place for a permanent name in coming months. 

The new school in the county’s Matoaca District will take shape at 18100 Duval Road near Moseley as part of the upcoming Upper Magnolia Green technology park, for which Chesterfield’s Board of Supervisors paved the way last year.

Josh Davis

Josh Davis

Josh Davis, the chief operating officer for Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS), said the new middle school and Falling Creek Middle, which is being rebuilt, will be the largest middle schools in central Virginia. They’ll follow a nearly identical prototype, he said, with each school accommodating 1,800 students and reaching three stories in height — a first in the county, Davis said.

“Most of our current middle schools have between 900 and 1,500 students, and we are seeking to build larger schools that can handle the growth that’s occurring in Chesterfield County,” Davis said.

The new middle school is intended to absorb overcrowding at Tomahawk Creek Middle School, northeast of Moseley, where eight classrooms are held in a megatrailer. CCPS also plans to eliminate unused locker pods at Tomahawk Creek to add nine more classrooms, though Davis said the school is still severely overcrowded.

CCPS broke ground on the Falling Creek rebuild last fall. Davis said the school, in the Ampthill area just south of Richmond, was built in 1966 and in need of an upgrade. The expansion will bring the school to 240,000 square feet, an 80 percent increase from its previous size. 

Falling Creek is targeted for completion in time for the 2024-25 school year, while the West Area Middle School is scheduled to open for the 2025-26 school year.

Site plans filed for the new school show the three-story school building, a large soccer or football field with a track around it, multiple baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts and other athletic fields.

CCPS West Area MS 2 CLASSROOM WING

The classrooms wing of the school will rise three stories.

The school building will consist of three classroom wings and host sixth-graders on the first floor, seventh-graders on the second floor and eighth-graders on the third floor. Each floor will be lined with 19 classrooms and five science labs. 

Davis said there’ll be several health classrooms next to the gym, plus a separate exploratory wing that’ll have learning spaces for art, foreign languages, technology and fabrication, business, family and consumer sciences, and a four-room music suite.

Davis said the auditorium will seat 1,100 people and the cafeteria will accommodate over 600 students at once, allowing for three lunch shifts.

CCPS is budgeting $95 million for the new school, slightly less than the $103 million price tag for Falling Creek. More is being spent on Falling Creek for demolition and other work around its current building.

Of the new school’s $95 million budget, $80.5 million was awarded to general contractor Gulf Seaboard to complete the project. Other expenditures include technology and furniture for the building, and the budget also includes contingency funds. 

The architect is RRMM, a firm that focuses on public-sector projects like schools, universities and public safety buildings.

The project is largely financed by $63.8 million in Virginia Public School Authority bonds, which Chesterfield applied for in September 2021. Voters also approved in November 2022 a $540 million general obligation bond referendum, which is set to fund capital improvements for county schools and government facilities, including $2 million for the West Area Middle School.

Remaining funding comes from previous construction project savings, other bonds and interest, cash proffers and other sources to be determined, according to data Davis provided.

As part of the Upper Magnolia Green technology park, the West Area Middle School campus will soon be joined by a county library and an elementary school expected to open in 2026. 

The tech park also includes potential development for nearly 600 single-family residential lots surrounding the campus. The county will also be extending and renovating certain roads and other infrastructure near the school, including an expansion of Powhite Parkway.

CCPS West Area MS 1

Construction is set to start next month on the to-be-named West Area Middle School in the Upper Magnolia Green area. (Images courtesy CCPS)

Chesterfield County is preparing to dig in on its newest middle school, one of two in the works that are taking such buildings to new heights.

A groundbreaking ceremony planned for Aug. 9 will mark the start of construction on what’s tentatively referred to as the West Area Middle School in Chesterfield’s Upper Magnolia Green area. 

The school name is temporary, as voting will take place for a permanent name in coming months. 

The new school in the county’s Matoaca District will take shape at 18100 Duval Road near Moseley as part of the upcoming Upper Magnolia Green technology park, for which Chesterfield’s Board of Supervisors paved the way last year.

Josh Davis

Josh Davis

Josh Davis, the chief operating officer for Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS), said the new middle school and Falling Creek Middle, which is being rebuilt, will be the largest middle schools in central Virginia. They’ll follow a nearly identical prototype, he said, with each school accommodating 1,800 students and reaching three stories in height — a first in the county, Davis said.

“Most of our current middle schools have between 900 and 1,500 students, and we are seeking to build larger schools that can handle the growth that’s occurring in Chesterfield County,” Davis said.

The new middle school is intended to absorb overcrowding at Tomahawk Creek Middle School, northeast of Moseley, where eight classrooms are held in a megatrailer. CCPS also plans to eliminate unused locker pods at Tomahawk Creek to add nine more classrooms, though Davis said the school is still severely overcrowded.

CCPS broke ground on the Falling Creek rebuild last fall. Davis said the school, in the Ampthill area just south of Richmond, was built in 1966 and in need of an upgrade. The expansion will bring the school to 240,000 square feet, an 80 percent increase from its previous size. 

Falling Creek is targeted for completion in time for the 2024-25 school year, while the West Area Middle School is scheduled to open for the 2025-26 school year.

Site plans filed for the new school show the three-story school building, a large soccer or football field with a track around it, multiple baseball and softball diamonds, tennis courts and other athletic fields.

CCPS West Area MS 2 CLASSROOM WING

The classrooms wing of the school will rise three stories.

The school building will consist of three classroom wings and host sixth-graders on the first floor, seventh-graders on the second floor and eighth-graders on the third floor. Each floor will be lined with 19 classrooms and five science labs. 

Davis said there’ll be several health classrooms next to the gym, plus a separate exploratory wing that’ll have learning spaces for art, foreign languages, technology and fabrication, business, family and consumer sciences, and a four-room music suite.

Davis said the auditorium will seat 1,100 people and the cafeteria will accommodate over 600 students at once, allowing for three lunch shifts.

CCPS is budgeting $95 million for the new school, slightly less than the $103 million price tag for Falling Creek. More is being spent on Falling Creek for demolition and other work around its current building.

Of the new school’s $95 million budget, $80.5 million was awarded to general contractor Gulf Seaboard to complete the project. Other expenditures include technology and furniture for the building, and the budget also includes contingency funds. 

The architect is RRMM, a firm that focuses on public-sector projects like schools, universities and public safety buildings.

The project is largely financed by $63.8 million in Virginia Public School Authority bonds, which Chesterfield applied for in September 2021. Voters also approved in November 2022 a $540 million general obligation bond referendum, which is set to fund capital improvements for county schools and government facilities, including $2 million for the West Area Middle School.

Remaining funding comes from previous construction project savings, other bonds and interest, cash proffers and other sources to be determined, according to data Davis provided.

As part of the Upper Magnolia Green technology park, the West Area Middle School campus will soon be joined by a county library and an elementary school expected to open in 2026. 

The tech park also includes potential development for nearly 600 single-family residential lots surrounding the campus. The county will also be extending and renovating certain roads and other infrastructure near the school, including an expansion of Powhite Parkway.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
7 months ago

The County is lucky to have a guy like Josh Davis coordinating this school building plan. He’s a smart guy and gets things done . The CCPS is in good hands.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
7 months ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

How could anyone down vote THIS???

Daniel Cooper
Daniel Cooper
7 months ago

There is no municipal water or sewer along Duval. Massive amounts of infrastructure improvements will have to be coordinated with this project. Think country roads.

Last edited 7 months ago by Daniel Cooper
Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
7 months ago

I hope the county has plans of upgrading Duval Road to handle all the bus traffic along with add sidewalks to it. In that Duval Road is a very narrow and twisty road and it’s amazing something this large would be built along it.

CM Reynolds
CM Reynolds
7 months ago

Make sure they leave some grass in front to put the inevitable trailers that they will need to put out front. The new Matoaca Elementary is already overcrowded just a few years after construction. The way His Majesty Kevin Carroll approves new construction, I suppose this one will too.

Josh Davis
Josh Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  CM Reynolds

CCPS has trailers at some new schools, but not at Matoaca ES. Enrollment was 621 last year with a program capacity of 738 (84% utilization).

Josh Davis
Josh Davis
7 months ago

The Duval Rd address was assigned by the County, but the school will not be accessible from Duval Rd when it opens. The front of the school will face the extension of Westerleigh Pkwy. The county has multiple infrastructure projects underway or planned in parallel to the school construction to improve and expand the road network and provide water and sewer service to the parcel that will include the new middle school, an elementary school, and a library.

Boz Boschen
Boz Boschen
7 months ago
Reply to  Josh Davis

I hope they are looking at multimodal transit including protected bike lanes and sidewalks, not just minimum requirements for increased car and bus traffic.

Josh Davis
Josh Davis
6 months ago
Reply to  Boz Boschen

Boz – The County is holding a community information meeting regarding the extension of Westerleigh Blvd on Tuesday August 8. It will be held at CTC @ Hull St between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. I know that sidewalks are planned, along with a tunnel under Westerleigh Pkwy near the entrance to the new school.

Jay Emory
Jay Emory
7 months ago

Does anyone know about the redistricting from Tomahawk Creek to the Upper Mag Green middle school? This article fails to mention which neighborhoods will be redirected to the new middle school as far as I can tell. Perhaps I missed it.

Josh Davis
Josh Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Jay Emory

Jay, The redistricting study and subsequent decisions will take place in the fall/winter of 2024-25.

Jay Emory
Jay Emory
7 months ago
Reply to  Josh Davis

Thanks, Josh! Not sure why I was downvoted for my question but I appreciate the response 🙂

Dee Moore
Dee Moore
7 months ago

Hi- I live in Westerleigh…. does that mean our kids will go there? the year the school will be built 25-26 school yr. He would have spent already 1 year in Tomahawk. Can my child still be redistricted ( i hope) it will only be right down the street where we live. also… considering the Westerleigh parkway is the main entrance…. seems there will be alot of traffic in Westerleigh now 🙁

Josh Davis
Josh Davis
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee Moore

It’s a very safe bet that students residing in Westerleigh will attend the new school.

Jay Emory
Jay Emory
7 months ago
Reply to  Dee Moore

Here’s to hoping! SL resident here and I’d much prefer the kids attend the new middle school based on distance alone.

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
7 months ago

Great article about two spectacular, and much needed, middle school projects.

Last edited 7 months ago by Scott Carson