Tysons, VA

The new Scotts Run Fire Station 44 in Tysons is nearing the final stages of construction, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said yesterday (Tuesday).

Crews broke ground on the new station in September 2019. Work was previously expected to be finished by the end of 2020, but challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic led to some slight delays.

“There were delays but it wasn’t anything outside of what is to be expected with COVID affecting almost every aspect of the construction industry,” FCFRD Director of Public Information Ashley Hildebrandt said.

Located at 1766 Old Meadow Lane, the new Station 44 is intended to provide some relief to Station 29 (1560 Spring Hill Rd.), which also serves the Tysons area and is currently situated near the Spring Hill Metro station.

Approximately 13,852 square feet in size, the two-floor building will feature three vehicle bays, offices, living quarters for up to 12 crew members per shift, and restrooms that will be open to people utilizing nearby future athletic fields.

The McLean-based developer Cityline Partners committed to building the station and an off-site turf field as part of a proffer agreement with Fairfax County for its planned Scotts Run Station South mixed-use development. The station was designed by Samaha Associates and is being constructed by TRINITY Group Construction.

Fairfax County now anticipates that Station 44 will start hosting occupants this summer.

Station 29 is also expecting an upgrade.

Fairfax County started the process of procuring a contractor to build a replacement at 8300 Jones Branch Drive in McLean on Dec. 1. The new station will have two additional apparatus bays and improved living facilities for female workers. It will be co-located with a new bus facility at the Tysons West Park Transit Station.

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Twitter

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The Washington and Old Dominion Trail will be shifted slightly south where it passes Idylwood Park in Falls Church starting this Thursday (Jan. 14).

The Virginia Department of Transportation says the temporary realignment will allow crews to construct a new, permanent trail that can accommodate new Interstate 66 ramps as part of its Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project.

Construction will also involve the addition of a retaining wall to support the widening of the I-66 West ramp to I-495 South.

Idylwood Park is at the terminus of the Transform 66 project, which is adding 22 miles of express lanes between I-495 in Falls Church and University Boulevard in Gainesville.

VDOT previously planned to close the affected section of the W&OD Trail from July 27 through early December of last year and offer detours to pedestrians and cyclists, but construction was postponed “for additional project coordination.”

The realignment brings the trail closer to I-66 West and will last approximately five months through June 2021.

“All work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur,” VDOT says.

Images via VDOT

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Work on a new roof and synthetic turf field for McLean High School will begin this summer after the Fairfax County School Board approved contracts of nearly $1 million combined for the two projects yesterday (Thursday).

A $386,480 contract to replace the school’s roof went to R.D. Bean, Inc., which was selected out of a pool of seven companies that submitted bids for the project on Dec. 18.

The field replacement will be done by Astro Turf, LLC, for $548,500. Four other contractors were in contention for the project, which received bids on Dec. 9.

“These critical improvements will help McLean High School continue offering world-class educational and athletic opportunities for our students as the school division and community work to address ongoing capacity needs,” Providence District School Board Representative Karl Frisch said.

FCPS says that the replacement of McLean High School’s existing turf field, which was installed in 2012, is part of an ongoing, division-wide program to maintain the quality and usability of school athletic fields.

The roof, which was built in 1997 with some additions constructed in 2001, will be replaced in one-month phases over the next four summers. This year’s work will encompass approximately 30,000 square feet of roofing.

McLean High School is currently undergoing construction for a 12-classroom modular building that is expected to be finished in the next couple of weeks, Dranesville District Representative Elaine Tholen told the school board on Tuesday (Jan. 5).

The modular will replace 12 trailers at McLean, which is about 300 students over capacity as of the 2019-2020 school year, according to the most recent Fairfax County Public Schools proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

FCPS staff did not calculate program capacity utilization for the current school year in the proposed FY 2022-2026 CIP, because the majority of students have been learning remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even with the modular, McLean High School will still have 22 temporary classrooms in trailers.

In the hopes of providing further relief from overcrowding, FCPS is conducting a boundary adjustment study that could potentially shift some future McLean students to Langley High School.

“I am happy to see this investment in infrastructure at McLean High School along with our modular classroom construction and several building modifications,” Tholen said. “These necessary enhancements will serve current and future students and staff as we continue efforts to alleviate overcrowding at the school.”

Photo via McLean High School PTSA

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The Fairfax County School Board will hold a virtual public hearing at 7 p.m. today (Thursday) on the proposed fiscal year 2022-2026 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for Fairfax County Public Schools.

Released on Dec. 17, the proposed CIP – which sets short-term priorities for school renovations, capacity enhancements, and other infrastructure projects – remains largely the same as last year’s plan, as the uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic made FCPS officials wary of making any significant new commitments.

“It is a daunting time,” FCPS Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Transportation Services Jeff Platenberg said. “…We don’t want to do anything that’ll impact our facilities or our staffing, especially with the inoculation coming, the vaccines, and then, next year, [we want to] put ourselves in a position to get back to whatever the new normal might be.”

Because students have mostly been learning virtually, FCPS staff were unable to include data on the capacity utilization of individual facilities for this school year in the CIP. Fluctuating attendance also precluded staff from making five-year projections for future student enrollment.

According to a presentation that Platenberg gave to the school board on Tuesday (Jan. 5), FCPS shed 8,338 students between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. The losses predominately came at the elementary school level, which saw a drop in membership of 7,729 students.

Because FCPS is not adding any new projects with the proposed CIP, the school system will be able to focus on the many needs that it has already identified, Platenberg says.

For the Tysons area, the CIP again proposes building an elementary school to relieve crowding around the Silver Line Metro. About $2 million from a school bond approved by voters in 2019 have been allocated to the project for planning, but the $37.5 million that FCPS estimates will be needed for construction is not yet funded. Read More

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Fairfax County Public Schools is moving forward with plans to expand James Madison High School.

An addition project for the Vienna-based school will be introduced as new business at the Fairfax County School Board’s meeting on Thursday, setting the stage for Fairfax County Public Schools to solicit bids for a construction contractor.

Intended to accommodate increasing enrollment, the addition will give Madison approximately 32,000 square feet of new space by augmenting the front of the school with a third floor and expanding the second floor at the back of the school.

On top of enhancing the building’s capacity, the addition will provide expanded cafeteria space and new library and technology learning spaces, according to Hunter Mill District School Board Representative Melanie Meren.

The project carries an estimated cost of $23.5 million that covers design, permitting, and construction. The funds come from school bonds that Fairfax County voters approved in 2017 and 2019.

“Fairfax County taxpayers want students to have modern and meaningful learning experiences,” Meren said. “…It is only through voter-approved bonds that FCPS can fund renovations and construction. I’m grateful to Fairfax County voters for investing in our public schools.”

Last renovated in 2005, Madison is designed to accommodate 2,115 students, according to the proposed FY 2022-2026 Capital Improvement Program. FCPS anticipates that the addition will expand its capacity to 2,500 students.

The school reached capacity during the 2015-2016 school year, and it now has 2,217 students.

Enrollment this year dipped slightly from the 2,272 students who attended during the 2019-2020 school year, when the school was at 108% capacity. Capacity utilization numbers for the 2020-2021 school year are unavailable since the COVID-19 pandemic has largely kept students at home.

FCPS is scheduled to open a bid for construction on the addition project on Jan. 21, and the school board will vote on the award when it meets on Feb. 4.

According to FCPS Facilities Planning Coordinator Jessica Gillis, the winning contractor will arrive on-site to start work this spring, and construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.

Photo via Google Maps

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A contractor with the Town of Vienna started working to replace the water main on Broadleaf Drive NE between Beulah Road and Holloway Court NE today (Monday).

E.E. Lyons Construction will install approximately 1,000 linear feet of eight-inch ductile iron pipe to update a water main that was originally constructed in the 1960s, according to Vienna water quality engineer Christine Horner.

The town says the project is expected to take about six weeks to complete. Traffic will be controlled during construction using flaggers.

The Vienna Town Council voted on Apr. 27 of last year to award $1 million to E.E. Lyons for water system improvements throughout the town, including the installation of a new water meter and repairs to aging infrastructure.

Carrying an estimated cost of $216,000, the Broadleaf Drive water main replacement is one of about 26 projects encompassed by the contract. According to the town, individual sites have been prioritized based on water main break data, and work is being conducted in coordination with other town projects.

Construction first started in August on Center Street S. from Maple Avenue to Locust Street, and it continued in different locations throughout the town during the fall.

The projects funds came from a 2020 capital improvements project bond.

Image via Google Maps

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Fairfax County Public Schools is looking for contractors to replace the roof and synthetic turf field at McLean High School.

The projects were introduced at the Fairfax County School Board’s Dec. 3 meeting as new business, meaning they were not up for a vote yet. Instead, the board will take action at a future meeting.

According to FCPS, plans and specifications have already been prepared for both projects, and they are scheduled for construction bid openings this month. Bids on the turf field replacement will be received on Dec. 9, while bids for the roof replacement project will come in on Dec. 16.

Bid tabulations and recommendations for which contractors should be awarded the projects will be presented to the school board prior to its Jan. 7, 2021 meeting.

FCPS Director of News and Information Lucy Caldwell says the actual construction work on the new field and roof will take place over about a month in the summer of 2021 “due to seasonal and occupancy coordination.”

McLean High School had its existing synthetic turf stadium field installed just eight years ago in July 2012.

“This location hosts a single field, resulting in greater wear and tear and a shorter life span than schools with two fields,” Caldwell said.

Stadium field replacements, including the installation of new goal posts and soccer goals, are typically estimated to cost between $500,000 and $550,000, according to Caldwell.

Largely built in 1997 with some additions in 2001, McLean’s roof will be more time-consuming to replace. The project could potentially span up to four years, with construction taking place for one month each summer.

The first year of work will address just over 30,000 square feet of roofing. With each square foot costing between $15 and $20, total estimated costs range from $450,000 to $600,000.

“This project will bid and be constructed in phases each year,” Caldwell said.

Photo via McLean HS Athletics/Twitter

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously and without discussion on Tuesday (Dec. 1) to begin the procurement process to find a contractor to build a new Tysons Fire and Rescue Station.

After occupying 1560 Spring Hill Road for 40 years, the new Fire Station 29 will be located at 8300 Jones Branch Drive in McLean, where it will share the site with the Tysons West Park Transit Station.

Constructed in 1978, the existing Fire Station 29 needs more apparatus bays to house fire trucks, major upgrades to its building systems, and enhanced living facilities for female personnel, according to Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Building Design Branch Chief Tiya Raju, who is managing the project.

The new station will be approximately 20,000 square feet in size with five bays. The current station only has three bays.

The two additional bays will enable the new station “to add emergency response units to meet future increased demand for emergency medical and fire suppression services to support population growth and high-density development in Tysons,” Raju says.

As part of the project, Fairfax County is planning to add a seven-bay bus transit facility to the Tysons West Park Transit Station. DPWES is also coordinating with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation on the construction of a future ramp through the site that will connect Jones Branch Drive with the Dulles Toll Road.

The county has approved a $15 million construction budget, estimating that the total cost of the project will be $20 million.

Plans to replace Tysons Fire Station 29 have been in the works for almost a decade since the county initially negotiated a proffer to move the station to the bottom floor of a mixed-use high-rise building in 2011.

After those plans fell through, Fairfax County opted to use an off-site alternative clause in 2016 that would allow it to construct a new station when needed instead of waiting for development. The Tysons West Park Transit Station emerged as the most appropriate location.

“The original fire station no longer meets the needs of the community or the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “The larger replacement fire station will have the capacity to add emergency response units in order to best serve the Tysons region, which is one of the fastest growing areas in Fairfax County.”

Photo via Google Maps

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(Updated on 11/12/2020) Capital One expects to unveil a 1.2-acre sky park with food trucks, a bar and beer garden, games, a dog run and an amphitheater in time for summer 2021.

Nested on top of the newly open Wegmans grocery store, The Perch is part of the second building to be completed in the 24.25-acre Capital One complex. Two more parts of the project are slated to open in the fall of 2021: the Watermark Hotel and the Capital One Hall.

From The Perch, Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said the public will “view Tysons from a completely different vantage point.”

For him, that perspective applies to the company’s mission to mix employees and Tysons residents.

“We are trying to separate from the notion that this is for only Capital One employees,” he said, citing The Star, a shopping and dining destination inside the Dallas Cowboys’ new training facility in Frisco, Texas, as inspiration.

The Watermark Hotel and two residential buildings will surround the Perch. The 300-room hotel will be managed by B.F. Saul Hospitality, whose flagship property is The Hay-Adams luxury hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Watermark will no longer be one of two hotels on campus, after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a request to change a planned hotel into an office building.

The Watermark Hotel is slated to open next fall, while construction on the residential towers could begin in 10 years, Griffith said.

Until the residential towers go up, semi-permanent installations will “activate the space,” including an old-school double-decker London tour bus and an Airstream converted into food trucks, Griffith said.

From the Sky Park, people can see the glassy Capital One headquarters, completed in 2018, as well as a 30-story office building with two floors of retail.

These developments fit with the trifecta of “live, work and play,” but Griffith said a fourth component, “culture,” is missing.

To fill that gap is Capital One Hall, with a 1,600-seat theater and 250-seat black box theater, as well as vaulted event spaces, large restrooms, plentiful concession areas and an expansive coat room, he said.

Capital One Hall General Manager Jamey Hines described both performance venues as “tight in feeling and room focus, but not uncomfortable.”

“People on the edges have just a good view and the audience won’t feel far away from the performer,” he said.

Having two options impacts the performer, too. “I’ve found that you have to create the room, so people achieve in the room, through seating,” Hines said.

Capital One, Fairfax County, and ARTSFAIRFAX are working together to ensure county agencies and Fairfax County Public Schools get access to 15% of the hall’s bookings at discounted rates. Already, the manager is looking to fill dates for 2022-2023.

Hines has mapped out some events and is gauging what people want to see.

The pandemic has given Capital One Hall more opportunities to be added to a multi-city tour, but he anticipates the Hall will be a bigger destination for one-time shows and productions. Hines encouraged those who are interested in dates to join the email list at capitalonehall.com.

Capital One Hall and The Perch will be open to weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, galas and functions for nonprofits, concerts and speaker series, Capital One Center marketing and community affairs manager Meghan Trossen said.

The coronavirus pandemic has sped up the building pace, now unencumbered by traffic, but the supply chain has been disrupted, impacting shipments of materials and equipment, Griffith says.

Through it all, he said Fairfax County has done “an incredible job” accommodating construction during the pandemic, implementing measures such as inspections via FaceTime to keep employees safe.

Photo courtesy Capital One

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Tuesday Morning Notes

McLean Volunteer Fire Department and Inova Host Blood Drive — “Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis blood supplies within our community and the nation are challenged. Make your lifesaving appointment today!” [McLean VFD/Facebook]

Nonprofit BBB National Programs Opens New HQ in Tysons — “Located at 1676 International Drive, the  location will allow for an operations expansion and allow BBB National Programs to grow its portfolio of self-regulation and dispute resolution programs, according to an organization statement.” [Virginia Business Journal]

What’s Under Construction in Tysons? — “Though the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Tysons, where office jobs still outnumber residents three to one, construction crews are still breaking ground and ribbons are still being cut on new buildings.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Falls Church Resident Wins First Annual Library Service Award — “In a misty ceremony on Oct. 23, the first annual Chet De Long Award for Outstanding Service was presented to Eric Albrecht. Library patrons will recognize Albrecht as he has worked at the circulation desk for more than 16 years.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Photo via McLean VFD/Facebook

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