Community outreach for OMVHS master plan pushed to early 2019

The original Mount Vernon High School from an angle

County officials were not satisfied with the initial old Mount Vernon High School master plan submitted by developers.

Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, speaking at a monthly meeting of the Mount Zephyr Citizens Association Nov. 5, said the county’s next community meeting to present the redevelopment master plan for the original Mount Vernon High School (OMVHS) likely won’t take place until January or February 2019 — a few months behind schedule.

The reason for the delay, said Storck, is that initial concepts shared last summer by the project development team — The Alexander Company and Elm Street Development — were not in line with county officials’ vision for the site. Specifically, in an effort to provide the county with a zero-cost project, the developers had presented a housing-only concept; however, the OMVHS Task Force had recommended — and county supervisors and staff preferred — a mixed-use development incorporating educational, recreational and non-profit uses.

Storck said the developers needed more time to come up with two to three concepts that please the overall community.

“The most important thing we have to do is to get it right,” he said.

Storck said that while the developers will provide a cost estimate for the project, he anticipates it will cost around $50-$60 million for the renovation, and the county will have to determine how to fund it, whether via county bonds, economic development bonds, public-private partnerships or budget allocations allowing completion of specific projects over time. The county presently has around $75 million in its Capital Improvement Program for building renovations and infrastructure improvements, according to staff.

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