Student center for LFCC gets big boost

Posted: November 15, 2012

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The Frederick Board of Supervisors Wednesday night unanimously approved an amendment to the county’s Comprehensive Plan allowing for a Sewer Water Service Area (SWSA) in Middletown that will aid Lord Fairfax Community College in its mission to construct a new student center.

The SWSA will cover approximately 138 acres — including the school’s Middletown campus, land owned by the LFCC Foundation where the student center is planned to go and Middletown Elementary School — and will be located just north of Middletown, east of Valley Pike (U.S. 11) and west of Interstate 81.

A SWSA designation allows for public sewer and water services for any new construction, like the planned student center, in the area.

Chris Boies, vice president of financial and administrative services for LFCC, said following the meeting that the college hopes to begin construction once the center’s site plan is approved by the county — either late this year or in early 2013 — with the hope that the center will be open to students in time for the spring 2014 semester.

The approximately $9 million, 32,000-square-foot center will include LFCC’s bookstore, food services, a fitness center, two classrooms and office space, according to Boies.

He said the center is needed both because of LFCC’s growing enrollment — the student body has increased about 35 percent in the past three years — and the needs of students.

“We have a lot of students that are on campus all day and want something to do while they’re there, so this will really serve them well,” he said.

LFCC has an enrollment of more than 7,300 students between its locations in Middletown, Fauquier and the Luray-Page County Center.

The Middletown campus and the SWSA are located in the county’s Back Creek magisterial district.

During the meeting, Back Creek Supervisor Gary Lofton said LFCC has been a “great community partner” for the county and expressed approval for the SWSA-creating amendment.

LFCC will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking for the student center on Nov. 28.

Attending the meeting in the Frederick County Administration building were Chairman Richard Shickle and supervisors Charles DeHaven Jr., Gary Lofton, Bill Ewing, Gene Fisher, Christopher Collins and Ross Spicer.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com