On the first day of school in most Northern Virginia school district's, it's hard for school administrators to ignore that buildings are bursting at the seams.
Fairfax County is expecting to add 2,300 students this year, the largest enrollment in its history. Arlington County administrators are expecting a 5 percent increase, and most other school districts across Northern Virginia are also expecting to see more students.
Fairfax County Schools spokeswoman Mary Shaw says school leaders are doing everything possible to handle the increase.
"We've done some interior renovations in some schools that has required us to convert computer labs and open areas in to standard classrooms," Shaw says.
Fairfax will be adding 1,700 new teachers, and Arlington has hired 200. The two districts have added 150 portable classrooms to handle the crush. Arlington County schools spokesman Frank Bellavia says part of the reason for the increased enrollment is that parents are no longer looking for big houses out in the exurbs.
"When gas prices increased, that commute into D.C. took a toll, and they started realizing that it's better to stay in Arlington with good schools and a close commute and it keeps the gas prices down," Bellavia says.
Despite the sharp increase in the number of students, school administrators across Northern Virginia say they are ready for the first bell this morning.
Michael Pope also reports for Northern Virginia's Connection Newspapers.