Tuesday hearing begins next step for original Mount Vernon High School

The original Mount Vernon High School includes spaces currently used by the fire marshal and school system.

The county’s process to redevelop the original Mount Vernon High School property continues moving forward, with a public hearing Tuesday marking the start of a new phase. 

The hearing, which will be held at 4:30 p.m. during the Board of Supervisors meeting at the Fairfax County Governmental Center, will discuss  the recommended award of a contract to a developer to plan how the OMVHS space will be used. This comes after a county advisory committee recommended the selection of a $399,000 joint proposal by the The Alexander Company and Elm Street Development last month.

The Alexander/Elm Street proposal was one of two submitted after the county issued a request for proposals in May. 

“The Alexander Company/Elm Street Development demonstrated their ability and capacity to meet the County’s needs to master plan the Original Mount Vernon High School Redevelopment project in accordance with the solicitation requirements,” the county’s recommendation said. “The offeror’s proposal demonstrated similar master planning experience with large-scale mixed use projects, an understanding of the requirements of the service to be provided, and the capacity and work plan to meet those requirements.”

The county board will not make its decision on the contract until its Jan. 23 meeting.

If the contract is formalized early next year, the developer will begin a nine-month process of putting together the master plan for how the 42-acre property, which includes the George Washington Recreation Center, will be used. That process will include meetings with the community.

Preserving the existing school building through adaptive reuse is one of the county’s requirements for the project, per the request for proposals that went out in May. A project manager for Alexander Company told The Washington Business Journal that maintaining the front lawn and facade of the old building is a priority. 

The county’s goal is to have construction begin by 2020 and be completed by 2022, said Heather Diez, the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services’ project manager for the OMVHS project.

aerial view of property

An aerial view of the Original Mount Vernon High School and George Washington Recreation Center properties.

Located at 8333 Richmond Highway, the Original Mount Vernon High School was built in 1939. It served as a high school until the current Mount Vernon High School was opened in 1973. The building then served as Walt Whitman Middle School until that school moved to its current location in 1985. The Islamic Saudi Academy leased the building from the county from 1985-2016.

The building has been largely vacant since the ISA lease ended. The county has moved some offices into the building, including some Fairfax County Public Schools programs that had previously been in the South County Governmental Center. A new location for the South County office of the The Fairfax County Fire Marshall opened in the building in September. 

The South County Teen Center also operates a gymnasium in the building, which opened in Oct. 2016.

For more information on how to attend or watch Tuesday’s public hearing, you can go to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors page here.