Woodgrove High School Heads into Year Ten: Revisiting the History


Written by Logan Johnson

It is the year of 1999-2000 school year. Students at Loudoun Valley High School shuffle through their one-way hallway trying desperately to make it to class on the other side of the building without running into someone. With the student population practically doubling since 1995, the plans for a new Western Loudoun high school start to take place.

Flash forward to the year 2000; the new high school is planned to help the overcrowding at Valley. Loudoun Valley has capacity for around 1,300 students, which has been expanded to  1,900 kids for the 2000 school year through the addition of trailers or “portable classrooms.” This causes delays in traffic and backups in the parking lots because of the space that was taken up for the portable classrooms.

Woodgrove Theater Director David Noland taught at LVHS during those years before transferring to Woodgrove when it finally opened in 2010.

“The one place you did not want to be during a class change was in the hallway,” says Noland.

Valley became so crowded that in some of the hallways, the students and staff could only walk in one direction to get through the hallways and into their class by the time the tardy bell rang. Students had to walk in a large circle around the building in one direction to get to class, essentially forming a one-way route throughout the school.

“There was one hallway that they had to turn into a one-way hallway, because it was such a tight corner that if you tried to go against it, it just wouldn’t work,” says Woodgrove Physics Teacher Erin Barrett.

Loudoun Valley´s student population was so large that Loudoun County Public Schools threatened that if Woodgrove did not open soon, then students would have to start going to Freedom or Briar Woods high schools due to class overcrowding.

“P.E. classes could be between the low forties and even into the fifties. Our principal at the time said the capacity for a class was fifty. It was crazy, there were just so many kids,” says Woodgrove Physical Education Teacher Melissa Vangilder.

In 2005, after several court sessions dealing with fights regarding the land to build the school, approval was finally given to use Field´s Farm for the school campus by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. This then led to many residents of the town of Purcellville fighting the new high school for fear that the town´s traffic would get worse or cause water issues by supplying water to the new high school.

As February of 2005 rolled around, another crowded school year for Valley begins. Boundary lines for the newest high school in western Loudoun begin to be drawn. The town of Purcellville then took legal action to stop the building of Woodgrove.  Finally, in July, the Loudoun County Circuit Court sided with the town of Purcellville, delaying Woodgrove´s construction in March of 2007.

During the 2008 school year, the court finally ruled that Loudoun County had authority to build its newest school, and construction begins.

Finally, Woodgrove High School opens for the 2010-2011 school and during its inaugural year, only housed 9th 10th and 11th graders, as LCPS policy states that seniors never have to move.

Woodgrove settles in on its sprawling campus on part of the old Fields’ family farm, with beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.

“It is a beautiful setting. When I was coaching soccer, I would think you know, look at where I teach and coach, it’s pretty amazing,” says Barrett.

Woodgrove alleviated the stress of an overcrowded campus while still allowing the students to compete with the Valley students they have grown up with in the small town of Purcellville. Hopefully, Woodgrove will continue to be Valley´s friendly rival for the next ten years and beyond.