Stone Ridge, Va. (September 10, 2014) – An 11,847-square-foot addition to Mercer Middle School was informally dedicated on August 27 with Principal Bob Phillips, Dulles District School Board member Jeff Morse and Dulles District Supervisor Matt Letourneau cutting a ribbon to the addition’s exterior door.
Mercer’s staff gathered outside the school for the early morning ceremony.
The $3.5 million, nine-classroom addition, built by Keller Brothers of Mt. Airy, Md., raises Mercer’s capacity from 1,178 students to 1,350. Its capacity is now a match for the high school it feeds, John Champe.
“Mercer has been the ‘workhorse’ of the Dulles District for 10 years,” said Morse.
He noted that Mercer has educated as many as 1,500 students at one time. Despite their number, Morse said students never thought their school was overcrowded. He said Mercer’s staff made sure students thrived despite their number. “When you think about that and the size of this facility before this addition; it’s a pretty impressive feat.”
Morse also pointed out that Mercer served as an annex for the freshman class at Freedom High School when it was overcrowded before Champe’s opening. “It wasn’t overcrowded (at Mercer); everything was handled well.” (Freedom has received a 13,020-square-foot addition.)
Letourneau noted that he and Morse have made expanding the number of school seats available in the Dulles District a priority since their election in 2011.
“Progress is being made slowly, but surely,” Letourneau added. “We want our staff to be able to operate in a space that is not cramped. We don’t want you to have to use closets (to teach students) and we know that’s been the case.”
Letourneau also thanked Loudoun’s taxpayers for approving the expansion through a bond referendum. “We would have found a way to fund it – one way or the other – but by voting for it we were able to get it done a little more cheaply, get it done faster. That’s why we’re all standing here today.”
Principal Bob Phillips paraphrased a line from “Field of Dreams” at the opening of the ceremony. “We built this and they’re coming and they’re coming fast. We’re going to be using all the classrooms rather quickly.”