Original Mount Vernon High School community meeting is next week

Original Mount Vernon High School building seen from Route 1

The master planning process for the redevelopment of the original Mount Vernon High School site is underway. 

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and the development team creating the master plan for the original Mount Vernon High School property will be holding a community meeting April 5 to discuss the project next week.

The meeting will be held from 7-9 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. The first part of the meeting will feature Storck and the developers discussing the overall vision for the property, as well as the process and timeline for the redevelopment master plan. The open house portion of the meeting will follow, and it will include information tables on the project, materials covering the history of the property, and a community feedback station.

The Alexander Company and Elm Street Development were selected earlier this year to come up with a master plan for the 42-acre property, which includes the school’s campus and the George Washington Recreation Center. The master planning process, which began in February, will last nine months. 

Fairfax County is looking to transform the OMVHS property into a mixed-use development that will combine educational, recreational and non-profit uses. The historic main school building, which was built in 1939, will be incorporated into the final product.

The new development will be part of the South County community business center (CBC), as envisioned in the Embark Richmond Highway initiative. The development will have pedestrian connections to the bus rapid transit station planned for the South County CBC.

According to the county’s website, the master development plan will consider all of the following:

  • Public and private uses and spaces
  • Housing for a broad range of age and income levels
  • Multimodal access connecting the site to the larger community
  • High-quality building and site design complementing the historic nature of the site
  • Open spaces for active and passive recreation and preservation of natural resources
  • Non-profit and incubation spaces
  • Educational facilities and opportunities, public and/or private
  • Complementing, but not imitating, the services provided at the South County Government Center
  • Connecting local employment referral sources, and providing opportunities to small/local businesses
  • Adaptive reuse of the historic structure
  • Coordinated and integrated phasing of development

The original Mount Vernon High School has had a variety of uses since it was built. It served as a high school until the new Mount Vernon High School was built in 1973. It then became Walt Whitman Middle School until 1985, when declining enrollments and an aging building moved that school to its current location. 

The Islamic Saudi Academy rented the property from the county and used it until moving out in 2016. Since then the fire marshal has opened an office there, as did a Fairfax County Public Schools office. A county teen center also began using the building in the fall of 2016.

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