An Open Letter To FCPS

Jack Rose, Staff Writer


Dear FCPS,

Photo by Jack Rose.

Aren’t you excited for coming back to school? Remember March 13 when the United States of America had 556 cases of Covid-19 total? We were living in a very scary time, and schools everywhere were shut down. Well at the time of writing this, America is currently just over 9.8 million cases. That is 17,625 times more cases. There’s only one thing to do here: send our most rebellious age group away from supervision and tell them not to do something. What could possibly go wrong?

In all seriousness it’s a terrible idea. But. And this is a but bigger than the American death total of 236,000 people. It’s happening, and I can’t do anything to stop it.* Of course we can’t go back to the way things were, so we’ve got some things to change.


The Hallway:

Remember back in elementary school when they would march us down the hallways three blocks from the wall in a straight and orderly line? Well, if we can manage to create an almost street-like system, where we have traffic lights helping students to move in an orderly fashion and remain 6 feet apart, in-person school might work. However, FCPS, you do have to keep in mind that this is a 990 million** dollar project to install intersection signals. I’m sure you won’t mind this little snag as the safety of our children is the top priority.

Photo by Jack Rose.

I understand that you’re a fun district, always trying to shake things up, and price is clearly not a problem. That’s why I’ve come up with a significantly better solution. Roller coasters. Imagine walking into a school and taking your own, personal, sanitized, 6-foot-apart coaster cart and riding around a safe school. Now you’re probably wondering, how much is it going to cost me to install a roller coaster track inside of my schools? Well, that’s a difficult question to answer. After doing a very minimal amount of research, I found that a piece of roller coaster track is around six thousand dollars per meter, or around two thousand dollars per foot. In 2002, the average high school was 125,304 square feet. With 30 high schools in FCPS, we’re at 3,759,120 square feet. With high schools alone, we are at $7,518,240,000 for coaster track, not including personal carts. Since this is clearly a viable option, feel free to reach out to me, and we can work out all the rest of the numbers.

Photo by Jack Rose.

The Classroom:

Now, FCPS. Do you have a shorter name? May I call you Effey? Effey, what is a school without classrooms? Moving away from my two ideas for hallways, I have one very, very simple idea for the classroom. A safe classroom should include the following.  

Photo by Jack Rose.

For this plan, we’re going to need a school to base everything on. For this I’m going to use my own school of W.T. Woodson High School. 

Photo by Jack Rose.

To start, we need to expand our classrooms. For this we’re going to need to remove some walls. Every wall containing a window has got to go. This is a major expansion project. 

Photo by Jack Rose.

Next up, we’re going to need to expand the classrooms to fit 30 students each, sitting six feet apart. For this we have to eliminate all the inside walls.

Photo by Jack Rose.

Now while we’re here, we might as well remove all the other parts of the building, so that we just have a flat surface to work with. So in essence we’re just destroying the entire building. Destroying a building costs about four to eight dollars per square foot, so let’s just say six dollars. says Woodson has a square footage of 404,900. Demolishing Woodson is going to come to around $2,429,400. After we’re done here’s what we’ll be left with. 

Photo by Jack Rose.

Effey, it’s classroom time. How have I solved the crisis of achieving all three things on the checklist? Well it’s quite easy. Every classroom is being turned into a planetarium. Now we don’t want money to get tight, so everyone’s being put in sports domes. Sports domes can run from $9 to $15 per square foot. For Woodson, I’m just going to say $12 per square foot. To calculate the total square footage we’re going to need, I’m going to play it safe. The average classroom is 900 square feet-ish. To be extremely safe I’m making every classroom 1800 square feet for maximum social distancing. That checks off one box. Per classroom, we’re going to be dropping $21,600 for each dome. We haven’t even begun to discuss projectors. Since Fairfax County Public Schools have been known to provide their teachers with the top quality equipment they deserve, we’re going with top quality projectors. The Modern OM projector would cost us over $2 million, so lets round down to $2 million flat per projector. Per classroom, our current price is $2,021,600. If we keep our classrooms at exactly 30 students, we can fit all of Woodson’s 2,500 students into 83 domes, totaling 149,400 square feet.

To summarize everything, Effey, we have 83 classrooms (10 students get to suffer outside). Each classroom has 1800 square feet to maximize social distancing. To make the environments fun, all classrooms are now planetariums. The total price per dome is $2,021,600 x 83, coming to a total of $167,792,800. For the domes. If you remember, we’ve got to destroy Woodson to make room, bringing our total price for the classrooms to (drum roll please) $170,222,200. For one school. FCPS is 198 schools working together to fight this virus. If every school were a high school, our total price would be $33,703,995,600. Now, Effey, this number might scare you, but remember, numbers can’t hurt you. Only the virus can hurt you. 


The Cafeteria:

Oh, Effey. We’re in trouble. I was looking back on some of my numbers, and I don’t think this is in the budget. As I’m sure you know, FCPS has an annual budget of $712.1 million. At the amount of money we’re spending currently, we could go one of two ways. If we (FCPS, but mostly you and me together. Best buds forever.) Go with the traffic lights, we’re going to be in debt for 49 years. If we go with the roller coasters, we’re going to be in debt for 58 years. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that we want to spend that much money. There is a simpler solution,*** but let’s not think about that. I think we can cut off some of this debt by swapping out our healthy menu for something more, how you say in the big boss world, corporate. 

Now, Effey. I’m a Dairy Queen boy. I enjoy myself a good Blizzard. I sure would love one during English. What if, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, we got a certain grill and chill company to set up multiple locations to help out with our debt. As an owner of a Dairy Queen, you can make an annual income of $194,000. This isn’t going to help with our $41,222,235,600 debt. To clear up this debt in 1 year, we would need a total of 212,485 DQs. With the domes, we have a total of 255,500 square feet of room to work with within the plot of land formerly known as Woodson. The average Dairy Queen square footage is 2,800. We need 594,958,000 square feet. Effey, I hope you can understand that dealing with property purchasing is complicated and would probably take me an extra 10 years. So let’s work with the land we’ve got. We still need bathrooms, so I’m setting aside half of our land for that. That leaves us with 127,750 square feet. Now, admittedly it’s not the most Dairy Queens we could have, but right now we can sneak in 45 of the best ice cream restaurants into our new and improved school. From our Queen alone, we would be making $873k per year. It may not sound like much in comparison to our insane debt, but slowly and surely it will chip away.

Photo by Jack Rose.

The Bathrooms:

Sanitation. It’s important now more than ever. Effey, we need a safe place for our students to relieve themselves before returning to the domes. As the most fun district, I’m positive you already predicted where I’m going with this: three acres of waterpark. Starting off, we’ve got our standard range in price. $250 – $600 per square foot for a solid water park, and our price is going to be $450 just to make my math hard. The three acres is going to bring us to 130,680 square feet, totaling $58,806,000. A nine-acre waterpark consumes 900,000 gallons of water, so for our three-acre park we need 300,000 gallons. Tap water is around $3.85 per 1000 gallons. However, we are Fairfax Country. We don’t settle for tap water. Our waterpark/bathroom needs to be filled with Fiji water. Fiji water costs $2.49 per liter. With 3.78541 liters per gallon we’re going to need 1135623.54 liters of Fiji water. Our total for filling our park is going to cost us $2,839,059. Our final total brings us to 61 million, 645 thousand, 59 dollars.

Now, Effey. You’ve been tricked. This entire time you thought we were building a safer school. You absolute fool. We were designing a school that is simultaneously an amusement park. However, since you are the one that has decided to continue with this project, I think you should take credit for this. All I want is my name on a simple bench nestled between Dairy Queen 38 and Dairy Queen 43. You, however, can name the park after yourself. In fact, I’ve got a completely original name that’ll blow everyone out of the water. Fairgrounds Children Proudly call Safe, or FCPcS for short. I know I’m a hero for creating all of this, but you know who the real hero is? You. For spending $46,899,717,280, which is now $46,940,217,280 because I forgot to mention the franchise fee of $900,000 for opening 45 Dairy Queens per school.

Effey. As your friend, I don’t want you to be in debt for 66 years. So I come to you with the simplest solution of all. Simply don’t reopen schools. We’re all safe at home. If you wanted to recreate an environment of equal amounts of safety you’d have to spend almost 50 billion dollars.**** So please, Effey, for the safety of the children and of your checkbook, don’t reopen the schools.



    Your dear friend,

Jack Rose.

Professional School Designer.


*Unless the right people are reading this. Feel free to shut this whole reopening thing down. Wink wink. 

**$250,000 per traffic signal x 20 per school x 198 schools in Fairfax County

***Don’t reopen the schools. Please.

**** For reference 50 billion can also buy you:

6.5 billion Big Mac combos

10 nuclear reactors

641 of the most expensive Ming Vase ever sold

33 Yankee Stadiums

25 percent of the Microsoft Corp.

235 Phoenix Coyote NHL franchises

71 Mona Lisas

A little more than one Bill Gates

5,000 large private islands in the Caribbean