Newsletter

Four-story Dunn Loring Elementary School gets edge over shorter design option

Community members who attended a public meeting on the future elementary school in Dunn Loring last week appeared to favor replacing the existing administrative center at 2334 Gallows Road with a four-story building.

Samaha Associates, an engineering firm contracted by Fairfax County Public Schools, presented two primary design options for the planned school, which is expected to be 118,000 square feet in size with the goal of addressing crowding in the Tysons area.

One proposal would shift the school further away from Gallows Road onto what’s currently Murphy Field, a popular facility for local youth soccer groups. The building would be mostly two stories tall with a third story of classrooms on the west side.

The site would have room for an athletic field by Gallows Road as well as playgrounds, a play area, and an outdoor classroom, but they would be scattered around the property.

Slated to begin in spring 2024, construction could start sooner with this option, since the Dunn Loring Center building wouldn’t have to be completely demolished first, Samaha principal Tom Lee said at the meeting on Thursday (Nov. 10).

“More importantly, we’re able to get three site entrances off of Idylwood [Road], one aligning with Greenbriar Way and then two more for the bus loop, so you see a complete and independent separation between the kiss-and-ride traffic and the bus traffic with parking on both sides,” he said.

The other option would construct a four-story building in the existing Dunn Loring Center footprint with play areas consolidated to the west, away from Gallows.

Both options eliminate the site’s current entrance off of Gallows, but the four-story one would have a longer kiss-and-ride queue that could accommodate about 50 vehicles compared to the 30 spaces in the other design. However, drivers would have to go back out the way they came in when buses are using the loop at the front entrance.

Most attendees expressed support for the four-story design, in part because it keeps the athletic field away from Gallows Road and has a smaller footprint, likely allowing more trees to be retained, though a full tree survey hasn’t been conducted yet.

“That field that’s currently there is used all the time, some of the only good green space in the area, and to replace it with fields that are right on Gallows Road and have kids playing at one of the busiest intersections in the area, I think, is a terrible idea,” one man said to applause. “…I think it really shifts the burden of this school on all the people who live there.”

Lee noted that a four-story building would be “slightly more expensive” to construct. The project has a $36.8 million budget covered by bond funds that were originally earmarked for a school in the Oakton area.

The design also leaves no room for an expansion, but the school would be constructed with an internal “shell” on the fourth floor that could fit three to four more classrooms “as the need arises,” Lee said.

Samaha had suggested a third option to a Design Feedback and Engagement Committee that met on June 9, but it retained an entrance on Gallows for a limited kiss-and-ride lot, leading to concerns about traffic back-ups. That design has now been taken off the table.

In response to a resident who said turning right onto Gallows or coming left off Gallows onto Idylwood Road “is a problem already,” Lee said he doesn’t see any opposition to adding turn lanes at the intersection, but the project team would have to consult with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“We just need to get it through the next level of design,” Lee said. “…We can show an intent to add those now. I don’t think there’s any pushback to that idea.”

Read the comments…

Recent Stories

The baseball diamond at Linway Terrace Park (via Fairfax County Park Authority) Grass may soon be passé at Linway Terrace Park in McLean. McLean Little League (MLL) has offered to…

Lake Fairfax in Reston (staff photo by Jay Westcott) Lego Discovery Center Breaks Ground — “It was an honor today to participate in the LEGO Discovery Center groundbreaking at Springfield…

The Prosperity Business Campus owner has suggested turning it into a mixed-use neighborhood (via Fairfax County) The Mosaic District has been declared a rousing success by Fairfax County, but between…

This sponsored column is written by the team at Arrowine & Cheese (4508 Cherry Hill Road in Arlington). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Experience Arrowine’s Tastings & Events. Have…

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

The Rhea Baker State Farm Agency is proud to support Shelter House in providing safe places to be during quarantine. Shelter House’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness and domestic violence. Right now they are providing over 200 hotel rooms to those in need in our community. In the past year, across all programs, Shelter House served nearly 500 households comprised of over 1,500 individuals, 60% of which were children.

Of the households that exited shelter, over 70% moved to permanent housing. The Baker Agency has served Vienna and Tysons residents and business owners since 2007 and proudly offers insurance solutions for you home, condo, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We offer complimentary reviews and coach teen drivers to safer, better drivers, and to help keep your auto insurance rates down! We are always happy to talk or text at 703-847-6880.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list