History of GMHS Campus Project

1949

Falls Church voters approve of $700,000 bond referendum, authorizing the purchase of the 25-acre Flagg property at the corner of Leesburg Pike and Haycock Rd and the building of anew high school. (This referendum also authorizes the purchase of Mt. Daniel property and school building). The GMHS campus land costs $40,000 and the high school accommodates 325 students. The land becomes the property of Falls Church City, although remaining jurisdictionally in Fairfax County.

1951

Delay in construction of new school due to shortage of steel.

1952

George Mason Junior/Senior High School opens (Grades 6-12).

1953

The school is immediately overcrowded, and Falls Church seeks Federal Impact Aid funding grants for an addition.

FCCPS rents land adjacent to GMHS owned by Dr. Oscar Kiessling for $200/year as a temporary athletic field. Parents and community members clear the forest with shovels, axes, picks and rakes to build a field.

1957

Controversy arises when the Council rejects a School Board request for a bond issue to expand the high school, despite a petition signed by 1,200 residents favoring expansion. The Council removes the School Board members who recommended the bond issue. The newly constituted School Board votes to eliminate 12 positions from school staff and proposes to house children in Quonset huts rather than planning for permanent buildings. Public ire is aroused. At one School Board meeting more than 300 people attend to show their concern for the schools. On two other occasions, bond issues appropriating money for the schools are defeated or postponed as a result of court suits brought by opponents of the system.

1960s

Permanent football field, tennis courts and track are added to GMHS campus.

1962

GMHS addition: classrooms, small activity gym, shower and locker rooms, enlarged administrative space, library.

1969

GMHS auditorium and vocational classrooms open.

1973

Current GMHS library opens.

1975

First School Bond is paid off after a 25-year repayment period.

1979

$2M renovation at GMHS to make it accessible and more energy efficient, including the addition of elevators, ramps, and accessible restrooms. Energy conservation measures include new HVAC, dropped ceilings, lowered window spaces and sound insulation and lighting.

1991

Voter approval of $12.8M bond referendum for GMHS/GMMS renovation/addition.

1993

Groundbreaking for GMHS/GMMS renovation/addition that includes new learning areas to accommodate enrollment growth; reconfiguration of existing spaces; addition of science labs, auxiliary gym, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms; new roof; improvements to gym and locker room, auditorium and other facilities; asbestos removal, FCC-TV studio upgrade.

May 7, 1995

Community celebration of GMHS/GMMS $14.9M renovation/addition, the largest construction project in the City’s history 2006 Improvements to GMHS science labs are completed.

2013

Citizen approval of referendum to sell Falls Church Water System to Fairfax Water. This agreement includes bringing the campus land into the City of Falls Church, and a $40,000,000 payment to the City of Falls Church.

2014

January

Water sale complete. Boundary adjustment brings the campus land into City of Falls Church.

Joint Campus Process Planning Group is approved by School Board and City Council. Membership includes School Board, City Council, Planning Commission & EDA representatives.

Spring

RTKL/Arcadis is retained to perform “Space Fit” study, confirming that a school campus and 10 acres of development can fit on the site, in several different configurations.

October

Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel (ULI TAP) reviews the site providing suggestions on placement of school buildings, commercial development location and type, collaboration with neighboring sites.

2015

January

Campus Joint Steering Committee formed to work with City and School staff to help guide the overall planning effort and provide recommendations to and facilitate coordinated decisions by the two governing bodies of the School Board and City Council.

April

Unsolicited bid is received from Edgemoor.

May

Unsolicited bid is rejected by School Board and City Council, and PPEA Process is announced.

June

Cooper Carry presents Campus Community Outreach public engagement to begin community input into the use of the site, educational program and commercial uses.

Summer

Joint Campus Process Planning Group sunsets. PPEA RFP is issued for joint development of land - building a school and using 10 acres for economic development.

October

Community meeting/staff and student focus groups on Shared Vision for the Schools of the Future, including architectural, environmental sustainability, and other factors.

REPORT: FCCPS Community Visioning - The Schools of the Future Report to the Community

November

Two bids are received despite great interest at the time of RFP issuance. Complexity of project cited as major reason for few bids.

December

AIA Presentation and Gallery show of School Design NOW, sharing boards about 25 groundbreaking school design around the world.

2016

August

Request for Details Proposals issued.

June

PPEA process is abandoned because it did not provide the result sought by community sought. Process decoupled.

September

LINK Strategic Partners is retained to help School Board and City Council define a process and develop a pathway to work through the complex issues. Process includes identifying and answering open questions, creating a roadmap for the path forward. Campus Working Group, consisting of 2 City Council members, 2 School Board members and staff, work closely with LINK to sift through< information and make it understandable for elected officials and citizens.

2017

February

LINK process culminates in a well-attended Community Meeting about three preferred options - build new, phased, renovation. Strong community preference for “Build New” option, but concerns raised about price tag and affordability.

March

Perkins Eastman is retained for School Feasibility study.

Economic Feasibility Working Group is formed. Membership includes members of City Council, School Board, Planning Commission and Economic Development Authority.

May

Alvarez and Marsal is retained for Economic Feasibility study.

June

School Feasibility study results are presented by Perkins Eastman at Campus Update Community meeting.

 

November

On November 7, the Falls Church Community overwhelmingly approved (64% to 36%) a $120 million Bond Referendum to fund the upcoming George Mason Campus Project. 

 

 

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