New things coming to the Haymarket/Gainesville area

Sonic, Lifetime, and new housing


Area in which housing development is centered.

It is common knowledge that the Haymarket/ Gainesville area is constantly expanding. Every year the area seems to get a few new stores, a few new restaurants, and less elbow room in the hallways of all the public schools. Battlefield is no stranger to expansion, adding trailers, and teachers, to go along with extra hundred kids added to our already over-capacity high school. Well, the expansion is here to stay. In the upcoming months, a Lifetime gym, a Sonic Drive in, and a possible new housing development will be added to Prince William County.

According to Prince William Times, a permit application has been filed to put a Sonic Drive-Thru in the Manassas area of Prince William County. The Sonic will be located near the Manassas Regal Movie Theater in the lot where a Burger King used to be. Fast food fanatics should be excited since Sonic’s icon special drink menu will no longer be out of reach. Senior Grace Klebine, a Sonic enthusiast, is definitely happy about this addition sharing, “I am beyond excited. I cannot wait to show up with my friends and dine. The frozen lemonades are especially good!” As of now the closest Sonic is in Fredericksburg, more than an hour away. However, our area still gets the Sonic commercials on cable television where they boast about seasonal specials and new specialty drinks. Well, the wait will be over soon. If the permit goes through, they will begin construction right away. It is too soon to say when exactly they will open their doors, but Sonic’s icon drive in layout, huge menu, and roller skating staff is definitely in the works.

Another addition to Prince William County is more of a controversial one. A new housing development has been proposed by the building company The Peterson Group. This development would be placed off Lightner road and Utterback Lane on James Madison Highway, backing up to Piedmont. There in that spot is currently multiple large plots of land, most sitting empty, left over from farms that were broken up many years ago to build Piedmont, and they other half of Dominion Valley. Critics complain that this development could worsen the already severe overcrowding problem that the schools in the area, like Battlefield, are currently facing. This is causing the school to add trailers and push students to take Virtual High School to lessen class sizes.

A facebook page has been created called “Stop Utterback Development,” which contains critics of the proposed development. The group’s goal is to fight the permit process and persuade County Supervisor, Peter Candland, to deny The Peterson Group the permits they need to build on that land.

Senior and Student Council President, Kirt Boyd, shares his thoughts on another housing development, “Existing vegetation is there, and I think we need to focus on preserving nature in our area, it’s valuable and people like to have areas like that to get away from the busyness.” Kirt also fears for our community during extreme weather conditions. “Less vegetation will be around to soak up water causing possible flooding. Our area is already prone to flooding and taking away green space like that will only make the problem worse.” Kirts goes on to say, “The prime reason I am against a new housing development, from an infrastructure standpoint, is that we do not have the schools to accommodate any more students. BHS is already at 140 percent capacity, we have over 3,000 students in a building meant for 2,000. There is a new high school being built in 2021, but this will only bring battlefield down to just above 100 percent capacity, basically putting a band-aid on a serious problem.” Many people share Kirt’s opinion, students are already crowded in the hallways and classrooms, it is hard to find a positive light in a situation like this.

A new gym is opening near Virginia Gateway in the Promenade development. Lifetime Gym will open its doors in December. The new gym will be competing with One Life Fitness off Heathcote boulevard, and Anytime Fitness off Lee Highway. Lifetime is currently hiring, and their applications can be found at The gym has many different job openings, some of which are open to High Schoolers. Those looking for a job should definitely check it out. The new gym is considered a more upscale gym than regular fitness centers, which could give Lifetime a leg up on its competition.  

Prince William County, being a suburb of D.C., with higher-end housing developments, and containing some of the best schools in the state, is ever growing. The area is hugely popular with government families or those who commute into D.C. Over the years, the area has only continued to grow, adding businesses, more schools, and more housing. Whether you are a fan of progress or not, the growth is here to stay.