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Madeira School overhaul sails through McLean Citizens Association approval

A planned overhaul of The Madeira School won the uncontested endorsement of the McLean Citizens Association last week as it moves towards the Fairfax County Planning Commission for review.

The Madeira School is an all-girl’s private school at 8328 Georgetown Pike in McLean founded in 1906. While not looking to expand its student population, the school is hoping to expand and renovate some of the outdated buildings.

The centerpiece of the proposal is the removal of the site’s existing science building so it can be replaced with a new structure with upgraded classrooms. Other additions include a stables building, a new residential hall, and new faculty housing.

In an article on the school’s website, school administrators say the new classrooms will replace outdated 1970s facilities that don’t meet the school’s needs and are difficult to maintain.

“Replacing Madeira’s current science facility is a critical need — and not only because our curriculum has outgrown it,” the school said. “We are limited by our current building, constructed in the 1970s, which is extremely costly to maintain, has an insufficient number of classrooms, antiquated laboratories, structural flaws, and inflexible spaces. The new building will elevate the program for Madeira’s engaged students and signals a bold new standard.”

With very little discussion, the McLean Citizens Association voted to approve a resolution endorsing the school’s application to amend its existing special exception permit during a board of directors’ meeting on April 7.

The Madeira School’s application to the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning states that it is seeking the following modifications and improvements:

  • Removal of the existing Biedler Science Center building, elimination of a previously approved but unbuilt addition to the building, and construction of a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) building. Construction of this building will be key to upgrading all of the School’s classrooms, because it will relocate several existing math classrooms out of the Schoolhouse I building, leaving a block of space that can be spread around both Schoolhouse buildings for reconfiguring and upgrading purposes.
  • Removal of the existing Stables building, including elimination of a previously approved but unbuilt addition, and removal of the existing Gaines Hall Indoor Riding Ring building, and construction of a new Stables building, riding arena, and hot walker’.
  • Removal of the existing two-story residence known as the “Farmhouse,” to be replaced by a new two-story, 5,000 square foot residence.
  • Removal of the existing residence known as the “Laurels,” to be replaced with six units for faculty housing. The proposed faculty housing will be four-story two-over-two stacked townhouses. The density for such units has been reallocated from previously approved faculty housing units that were not constructed to their maximum approved square footage.
  • Removal of the existing Health Center, to be replaced with eight units for faculty housing. The proposed units will be four-story two-over-two stacked townhouses. The density for such units has been reallocated from previously approved faculty housing units that were not constructed to their maximum approved square footage. The Health Center function will move into the current studio arts building.

The proposed improvements and uses are accessory to the existing primary use as a private school of general education with an enrollment of more than 100 students. None of these projects will encroach into the existing RPA. All previously approved structures that have not yet been constructed are deemed to be approved pursuant to the previous approvals and are depicted

The Planning Commission hearing for the project is scheduled for Wednesday, April 28.

Image via Madeira School

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