History of GMHS Campus Project
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 a new 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.
Delay in construction of new school due to a shortage of steel.
George Mason Junior/Senior High School opens (Grades 6-12).
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.
The 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.
Permanent football field, tennis courts, and track are added to GMHS campus.
GMHS addition: classrooms, small activity gym, shower and locker rooms, enlarged administrative space, library.
GMHS auditorium and vocational classrooms open.
Current GMHS library opens.
First School Bond is paid off after a 25-year repayment period.
$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.
Voter approval of $12.8M bond referendum for GMHS/GMMS renovation/addition.
Groundbreaking for GMHS/GMMS renovation/addition that includes new learning areas to accommodate enrollment growth; reconfiguration of existing spaces; the 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
A 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.
Citizen approval of a 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.
Joint Campus Process Planning Group is approved by School Board and City Council. Membership includes School Board, City Council, Planning Commission & EDA representatives.
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.
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.
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.
An unsolicited bid is received from Edgemoor.
The unsolicited bid is rejected by School Board and City Council, and PPEA Process is announced.
Cooper Carry presents Campus Community Outreach public engagement to begin community input into the use of the site, educational program, and commercial uses.
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.
Community meeting/staff and student focus groups on Shared Vision for the Schools of the Future, including architectural, environmental sustainability, and other factors.
Two bids are received despite great interest at the time of RFP issuance. The complexity of project cited as major reason for few bids.
AIA Presentation and Gallery show of School Design NOW, sharing boards about 25 groundbreaking school design around the world.
PPEA process is abandoned because it did not provide the result sought by community sought. Process decoupled.
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. The 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.
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.
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.
Alvarez and Marsal are retained for Economic Feasibility study.
School Feasibility study results are presented by Perkins Eastman at Campus Update Community meeting.
November 7, the Falls Church Community overwhelmingly approved (64% to 36%) a $120 million Bond Referendum to fund the upcoming George Mason Campus Project.
November 14 - During the regular monthly meeting of the Falls Church School Board, Dr. Peter Noonan outlined the steps to be taken over the next 6-8 months in the next steps in the GMHS Campus Project.
November 27 - Superintendent Peter Noonan gave a briefing to Falls Church City Council on a DRAFT version of the Request for Proposals (RFP) - Qualifications
November 28 - The Falls Church School Board approved a Request for Proposals (RFP) - Qualifications. This step in the PPEA Process allows FCCPS to quickly see what firms are interested in working on the project. The 290 page RFP does not represent a final construction wish list but does include enough information so that prospective companies can understand the scope of the project. Included are education specifications developed and updated over the last decade, as well as sustainability features including geothermal, LEED Gold minimum, and Net Zero Ready.