Paul G. Douglas, principal at Groveton High School, will become this fall the first principal of the Fairfax County school created by the merger of Groveton and Fort Hunt high schools.

Douglas' appointment by Superintendent William J. Burkholder ends rumors that school officials were considering transferring him to facilitate the merger of the schools. The new high school, located in the Groveton building, will be called West Potomac High School.

"It's going to be a terrific job," Douglas said yesterday. "It's going to be difficult, no doubt about it, but it's going to be a powerful school once we get it together."

Douglas, 49, has been Groveton principal for nearly two years. John Travis, the acting principal of Fort Hunt High, will get the new job of associate principal, a higher ranking than assistant principal, at West Potomac.

Some residents of the Fort Hunt neighborhood, upset with Douglas' lobbying efforts for Groveton while the School Board was deciding which school to close, had urged his transfer. Douglas is popular in the Groveton area, and credited with boosting school spirit there.

Because of declining enrollment in the eastern part of the county, the School Board voted in March to convert Fort Hunt to an intermediate school, which it later named after the poet Carl Sandburg, and to send Fort Hunt's 1,269 students to Groveton beginning next fall.

Three sets of Fort Hunt parents filed suit challenging the decision. Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Richard J. Jamborsky approved yesterday a School Board motion to combine the suits and scheduled trial for July 1.