Renovation Updates

Falls Church High School Renovation

Planning is underway for renovating Falls Church High School. The 2017 School Bond referendum provided funding for the planning and design. Permitting for the renovation will occur once the design phase is complete. Construction funding will be included in the 2021 School Bond with construction beginning in 2022. The construction will occur in phases to allow for continuous use of the school building. The renovation will take approximately 3.5 to 4 years to complete. 

Be sure to check this page for updates throughout the process.  

The staff from Design and Construction provided a design update at the June 4 Falls Church High School PTSA meeting. Below are notes provided by the Perkins-Eastman Architects. 

Falls Church High School PTSA Meeting June 4, 2019 - Design Update

Design Update

1.0

Project Background and Schedule

 

 

1.1

Design – Design and Documentation Phases require approximately 2 years and are about half way completed. Schematic Design (SD) and Design Development Phase (DD) are complete, and Construction Documents have begun.

 

1.2

Permit – Following Design and completion of Construction Documents, Building Permit Review is expected to take 12-16 months.

 

 

1.3

Construction – Construction funding is included in the 2021 Bond. Drawings are planned to bid around December of 2021 and Construction Start Date is planned for early 2022 and will endure 4 summers, approximately 3.5 years in total duration.

 

 

 

1.4

Phasing – Construction will be phased to allow continuous occupancy of the property. During construction, there will be a number of modular classrooms and zones fenced off for construction. Specialized program spaces such as the gym and kitchen/cafeteria are renovated during the summers.  The theater will require a summer and a portion of the school year – either spring or fall semester.  The first phase should be completed within 18 months, providing new spaces which can be occupied. Moving of spaces during the phases will be coordinated with the school.

 

2.0

Design Presentation

 

 

2.1

Introduction – PEA was introduced along with recognition of extensive involvement with the School on design input to date. FCPS also assured the audience that the building and its spaces were designed around the Instructional Services (ISD) requirements and Education Specifications providing equal spaces amongst schools while also allowing for areas to be unique to FCHS.

 

 

2.2

Existing conditions – PEA recapped the design process to date, including their analysis of the larger neighborhood and historical context.

 

 

 

2.3

Site & Additions –The proposed building and site plan was shared to show where key additions were going and reconfiguration of the site.  Of note are the removal of one recreation field in the SE corner of the site in order to increase parking; tennis courts will be relocated and outdoor basketball courts will not be provided. Vehicle circulation and arrival experience are improved and parking will increase by approximately 140 spaces.

 

 

 

2.4

Floor Plans – Proposed approved plans were presented highlighting the organization of each department into locations within the building. The configuration of the plans improve the overall circulation and layout and provide new collaborative, flexible spaces. Classrooms are improved from +/- 650sf in size to nearly 800sf, and all existing spaces will be completely renovated. The Gymnasium will be expanded and a new Aux. Gym will be added.

 

2.5

Entry Security – The school will have a secured vestibule that, during school hours, will require visitors to enter through the adjacent administrative reception area before entering the school.

 

 

 

2.6

Front Entry – Renderings of the front entry were shared showing the current design which is in progress.  The design includes a landscaped forecourt as part of the entry experience, providing space for arrival, waiting, and hanging out and framed by a new curtainwall entry with subtly but distinctively colored glazing.  All landscaped amenities will be accessible to people of all abilities as well as for maintenance equipment.

 

3.0

Q&A

 

 

 

3.1

Site Circulation & Parking – Vehicle circulation and congestion (both on-site and off-site) were noted as increasing issues for the community. The proposed improvements clearly segregate the parent drop-off in the west parking lot from the bus drop-off along the north and east parking lots. The queuing distance for Kiss and Ride around the perimeter of the west parking lot is significantly increased to minimize or eliminate impact from road traffic and bus drop-off. The design team will continue to study improvements to vehicular and pedestrian safety.

 

 

 

3.2

Site Fields – Proposed reconfiguration of the athletic fields maximizes the efficiency of the available site area, while retaining many of the fixed amenities – such as the new turf field. FCPS explained that the project has to carefully balance budget concerns to maximize educational impact and that some apparent inefficiencies may not be corrected if the expense outweighs the benefit.

 

 

 

 

3.3

Energy Efficiency – Attendees questioned what improvements were being made to increase energy efficiency as well as whether the project was pursuing any sustainability certification. FCPS confirmed that FCPS Schools design through the CHPS Program and is required to improve the efficiency and environmental impact of building. In addition, it was noted that current building code requires energy efficient buildings – typically FCPS sees at least a 50% improvement over current energy uses of their renovated schools. It was noted that FCPS is considering solar energy for domestic hot water, as well as other sustainable features, but has not finalized their policy.

 

 

3.4

Growth, Flexibility – Attendees were seeking confirmation that there is room for the population to grow over time. BR noted that planning studies suggested population growth from approximately 2100 current to 2500 in 5 years.  This capacity is based on an 85% utilization rate of core classroom spaces, providing a buffer for a population surge of up to 15%.

 

 

 

3.5

Main Entry Design – Reaction to the design proposal for the main entry was mixed, but the general consensus was that it did not necessarily project a sense of welcome when approached directly from the north, nor a sufficiently impressive presence to the street. Revisions will be undertaken to address these concerns. The design strategy of incorporating a landscape forecourt into the entry experience was well received, and the curtainwall glazing as the primary material, presenting a distinctive identity, was acceptable.