Rebuilding PA: Fast facts and figures

Olivia Guy and Emma Halman

After years of speculation, it is finally time for Princess Anne High School to get rebuilt. This process is projected to begin in the summer of 2024, affecting this year’s freshman class, as students will spend over two years at the old Kellam High School building. 

Not including the section of the school that was remodeled following the infamous 1995 fire, PA is the oldest standing high school in the city. Just one walk through the building can feel like being in three different schools of three different decades. This is made further evident by the differing ceiling heights, 50 exterior doors, and unproportionate classroom sizes that make up the school.

Map showing the distance from PA to the old Kellam.

Recently, the City Council has approved a $162,650,000 budget for the long-awaited rebuild. It will be fully funded through the six-year capital program. VBCPS has also received a proposal from the SB Ballard Construction Company to carry out the project, although the contractor will most likely not be selected until the spring of 2022. 

Architect Tony Arnold explains that the exact time frame for the project will most likely continue to be adjusted. Currently, he believes that the earliest PA will move out of the “swing space” at Kellam and reopen is the 2027-2028 school year. This location is 9.4 miles away from PA, or about a half-hour commute for zoned students that drive to school and up to one hour for those riding the bus, near the Pungo area.

With an end result that seems so far in the future, the planning process has already begun to rebuild the 67-year-old building. 



A project of this size can be expected to disrupt the daily lives of teachers and students. 


Principal Danny Little anticipates that the increased distance that students zoned for PA will have to travel to the temporary building as being a potential concern for parents. Students who cannot drive themselves to school may have to get on the bus as early as 6. This, along with the increased number of buses necessary to accommodate all IB and West Building students, Little believes will be a “major challenge for the school division.”

Freshman Lydia Winstead assumes that students in her neighborhood will choose to drive together to the temporary Kellam space her senior year. She also anticipates that the increase in transportation time will create a problem for students staying after school for activities and seniors with a fourth period excused block: “It is maybe a 10-minute drive now. I think it will be about a 40-minute drive to Kellam.”

Overall, Winstead thinks “It will be sad not having the full senior ‘high school experience’ at my own high school.”

Freshman Bree Curameng agrees with Winstead, explaining “It will be kind of weird having my senior year across town after three years at PA. To be honest, I am not really looking forward to it.”

Reaction of teachers

Aware that nobody ever really wants to face the changes that come with moving, Little believes that the majority of teachers will recognize the long-term benefits of rebuilding the school.

Building design

Kellam is the latest high school in Virginia Beach to have been rebuilt (2014). However, the architects are unsure if that layout will be suitable to follow in rebuilding PA, as it would not fit into our current campus. 

Photo of Kellam’s schola.

However, Little expects that the rebuild will include a schola, or a mini auditorium where several classes could listen to a guest speaker or students could have a special activity. All of the recently renovated school buildings have one, including Kellam.

To watch a walk-through of the remodeled Kellam, visit



The following are changes to the current school building that will be implemented in the reconstruction. 

West Building

Little confirmed that all PA students will have to transport to the old Kellam High School while the new school is being built. This includes those in the West Building. This presents the challenge of having to make the appropriate accommodations to the temporary space for those students, as well as in the new building. 


In reference to both the West Building and JROTC building, Little confirmed that the current plan is “to rebuild one building that accommodates everything.” Currently, the JROTC building is detached from the main building. This means that those students have to exit the main building to attend their JROTC classes. 


Little explained that when he became principal in 2016, PA had a total of 16 portables. Now, there are only eight. The initial plans for the rebuild reveal that the new building will be large enough to accommodate all students without the use of any portables. 


While the official layout of the new building is still being determined, these are the current goals. 

Addition of classrooms

The ultimate goal for the new building is to limit the number of spaces that are idle. This means that it is likely that a number of teachers will continue to share a classroom space. That being said, there will be an increase in the number of classrooms in the new building, and almost all will be the same size. According to Little, this will “maximize the space for the number of students.” To provide additional input in the transition planning, members from Support Services have been visiting the school to inspect how it is currently being used, as well as the number of students and teachers. 


Little acknowledges that the use of lockers by students has become essentially obsolete in recent years. However, he still considers them useful for providing additional storage and a personal space for the students who are interested in having it. Taking this into account, he believes that the number of lockers in the new building will be heavily decreased, so as not to become wasted space.

Parking lot

There have been discussions about condensing the current parking lot layout by creating a parking deck or garage. This will most likely combine parking for juniors and seniors who drive themselves to school.