Flex Plan A vs Domino Plan – Fluvanna County Schools Proposals

There was an alternative plan mentioned at last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting to the current Domino Plan. It took a little research to find more about it online, but this is what I found…

April 2, 2003

The Board of Supervisors approved the temporary refinancing of a note for $7.5 M for County High School renovations and expansion.

January 21, 2004

School Board requested $50,000 to initiate preliminary design work for the proposed high school on Pleasant Grove. (SOURCE)

Joint Committee Formed

A joint committee was formed consisting members from both Boards, staff and citizens to review the possibilities concerning new schools for Fluvanna County.

August 4, 2004 & September 15, 2004

School Board requested/granted permanent funding ($7,500,000) for High School Expansion (SOURCE)

June 30, 2004/September 7, 2004

The Joint School Construction Committee met on June 30th 2004 and had a full roster; Sheriff Washington joined the group as an exofficio member representing the Columbia District; the group met with consultants that will be providing a factual analysis of student projections and existing buildings; and indicated the next meeting is scheduled for September
7th 2004 (SOURCE).

The High School Expansion was completed sometime in 2004. The following document indicates there were plans already in place for the High School to eventually become the Middle School: High School Today – Middle School Tomorrow: A Unique Approach to Managing Change

May 4, 2005

Carl Chafin, an independent consultant gave a presentation at the Board of Supervisors meeting for “Flex Plan A” (SOURCE).

September 14, 2005

The School Board considered two plans.

  1. Flex Plan A (recommended by the Joint Committee)
  2. The Domino Plan

Each plan was broken down into two phases.

Under the Flex Plan A the following would occur first for a projected cost of $45.15 million:

  • Renovate HS & Abrams Building to achieve a capacity of 1400
  • Build a NEW Middle School for 1000 students
  • Convert current MS to grades 4 & 5

Under the Domino Plan the first phase would include for a projected cost of $57.35 million:

  • Build a NEW High School for 1500 students
  • Renovate Abrams Building
  • Convert current HS to a MS for 1000 students
  • Convert current MS to grades 4 & 5

The essential difference is who gets the brand new school and how much is it all going to cost. Under the Domino Plan, it’s the high school. Under the Flex Plan, it’s the middle school.

The middle school currently is way past capacity (and has been for some time now) whereas the high school is not.

CONCLUSION for phase 1: The Flex Plan is cheaper. The Domino Plan allows for 100 more student enrollment in the high school.

Under the Flex Plan A the second phase includes for a projected cost of $62.8 million:

  • Build a second high school for 1200 students
  • Build a second middle school for 500 students
  • Build a new Elementary School for 750 students

Under the Domino Plan the second phase includes for a projected cost of $29.9 million

  • Expand high school from 1500 to 1750 students
  • Build a second middle school for 500 students
  • Build a new Elementary School for 750 students

The essential difference between the two plans in this phase is the high school. Under the Domino Plan, the new high school from phase 1 gets expanded. Under the Flex Plan, a new high school is built.

CONCLUSION for Phase 2: The Domino Plan is cheaper. The Flex Plan allows for total HS student capacity of 2600 whereas the Domino Plan allows for total HS student capacity of 1750.

BOTTOM LINE: When both phases are complete, the Domino Plan appears cheaper. However, you are getting less bang for your buck. Why? Under the Domino Plan you have one high school with a capacity of 1750. Under the Flex Plan you have two high schools with a combined capacity of 2600.

The Joint Committee recommended the Flex Plan A. The reasons they gave were as follows:

  • The plan provided the greatest flexibility for dealing with future enrollment growth while addressing the most pressing needs now;
  • It required no changes in school attendance zones in the near future and
  • It positions the County to build a two smaller middle/high school feeder system in the future if enrollment continues to grow.

SOURCE: http://www.co.fluvanna.va.us/minutes/2005/05-04-2005%20minutes.pdf

The School Board chose to go with the Domino Plan. The reasons they gave were as follows:

  • The plan will increase capacity with the least disruption of on-going educational services. (Not sure how they figure that)
  • It provides the best use of the educational dollar. (Not sure what the educational dollar is)
  • It accommodates the greatest number of students for the least cost. (Not according to my math)
  • It does not require splitting of school populations until the year 2018.
  • It will accommodate projected enrollment growth through the year 2020. (Huh? Seems to me the Flex Plan will accommodate projected enrollment growth for the the high school level well past the Domino Plan’s projections… Under the Flex Plan we’re talking 2600 students vs the Domino Plan’s 1750)

Here are some perks mentioned in the Domino Plan that don’t get addressed in the Flex Plan.

The NEW high school will get a football stadium, additional athletic offerings, and a special transition complex for the ninth grade.


The Domino Plan has changed a bit since September 2005. As of September 2007 there is a Scheme D & a Scheme C allowing the capacity of the high school to expand up to 2500 students as opposed to just 1750. This is still less than what the Flex Plan proposed (2600 HS students).

NOTE: When I was researching this information, I found the following to be very curious.

  • The School Board had already set in their mind a high school would be built at Pleasant Grove (according to minutes from various Board of Supervisors meetings in late 2003/early 2004).
  • The School Board secured monies for an expansion on the current high school in August/September 2004 with the idea of changing it into a middle school, obviously knowing there was a “plan” for a high school to be built on Pleasant Grove.
  • $50,000 was acquired, A Joint Committee was formed and a presentation was given to the Board of Supervisors in May 2005, recommending the Flex Plan A.
  • The School Board supposedly considered the Joint Committee’s proposal, but chose to proceed with the Domino Plan in September 2005 anyway.

Was the Joint Committee’s proposal truly considered? It seems to me someone wanted the new high school to happen all along. Why was the Flex Plan A shot down?

If you know the answer, please do tell. If you know anything about this history, please share it here. I’d love to get the full story of what’s going on.

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