Capital One Center Nears Next Opening — The Washington Business Journal toured Capital One Center as the mixed-use development prepares to open more facilities, including The Perch, a skypark set to open this summer, and Capital One Hall, the performing arts venue that will open in October. The complex will accommodate about 10,000 Capital One employees, but it’s also intended to appeal to local residents like The Boro or The Wharf in downtown D.C. [Washington Business Journal]
Fairfax County Introduces Transportation Debit Card — The new Transportation Options, Programs & Services (TOPS) initiative replaces the county’s existing taxi voucher programs. Serving older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income residents, TOPS provides a transportation debit card in lieu of paper vouchers and supports more transportation options, including rideshare, Metro, and public buses. [Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services]
Wolf Trap National Park Superintendent Leaves — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts Superintendent George Liffert left the role he’d held since 2016 in May to take over Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, the National Park Service announced yesterday (Tuesday). Wolf Trap Deputy Superintendent Ken Bigley is now serving as acting superintendent until a permanent successor is selected. [NPS]
Madison HS Seniors Graduate — James Madison High School held an in-person graduation ceremony for its Class of 2021 at Jiffy Lube Live in Prince William County. Principal Greg Hood invoked the many musicians who have performed at the outdoor amphitheater in a speech to the new graduates, who were commended for their perseverance and motivation in an unusual year. [Madison HS/Twitter]
Falls Church City Wins Mayor’s Fitness Challenge — The City of Falls Church bested the Town of Vienna and Fairfax City in an eight-week competition to determine the “Most Fit Community.” Falls Church participants averaged 1,622.28 minutes of exercise, followed by Vienna with an average of 1,484 minutes and the City of Fairfax with an average of 1,289.25 minutes. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Virginia Holds Vaccine Day of Action — Virginia wants residents to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts by joining a statewide “It’s Our Shot” Day of Action today. Ways to participate include making a plan to get vaccinated, sharing your vaccine story on social media, and becoming a COVID Community Ambassador. [Office of the Governor]
NRA Still Considering Leaving Fairfax — The National Rifle Assocation is still planning to open an office in Texas, though the organization has not determined whether it will entirely relocate its Fairfax headquarters. Last week, a federal judge dismissed the NRA’s bid for bankruptcy protection, taking issue with the group’s secrecy and lack of disclosure. [Washington Business Journal]
Ribbon Cut on Suffragist Memorial — “A memorial honoring the women who fought for their right to vote was dedicated in Fairfax County, Virginia, on Sunday. The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial aims to tell the entire seven-decade story of the suffrage movement…It’s located at Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton on former prison grounds where organizers said the “Night of Terror” took place more than 100 years ago.” [WTOP]
Madison Students Paint Vienna “LOVE” Sign — “Check out the LOVE sign by the W&OD Trail the Madison High School SGA decorated yesterday [May 16]. They worked hard (even in the rain) to display #local #love for each of Madison’s classes represented by a color.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
COVID-19 Vaccine Could Soon Be Approved for Teens — The CDC is scheduled to discuss recommending COVID-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-old individuals on Wednesday (May 12). If it is approved, the Fairfax Health District says it will have vaccine available, and state and local appointment scheduling systems will be updated accordingly. [Fairfax County Health Department]
Falls Church Man Arrested for Threatening People at Mosque — 41-year-old Jonathan Lincoln faces assault and disorderly conduct charges after reportedly threatening people with a knife and trying to stab a security guard at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Seven Corners. The incident occured around 3 p.m. on Saturday (May 8), and there were no injuries. [WTOP]
Virginia Republicans Hold Nominating Convention — Virginia Republicans cast ballots in 39 different locations across the state on Saturday in a convention to select the party’s nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. The results could take days to materalize, but turnout was expected to surpass the party’s last gubernatorial convention in 2013, when about 8,000 of 13,500 approved delegates cast ballots. [The Washington Post]
Falls Church News-Press Announces Endorsements — The Falls Church News-Press has thrown its support behind Terry McAuliffe, who is seeking to return to the governor’s mansion in November. It also endorsed Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) for lieutenant governor and incumbent Mark Herring for attorney general. [Falls Church News-Press]
Vienna Farmers Market Kicks Off Season — “It may be cloudy and chilly but the Farmer’s Market hosted by our local Optimist Club in @TownOfVienna is open! Pleased to help cut the ribbon to open this season of fresh foods and goods!” [Del. Mark Keam/Twitter]
Construction on Madison High School Addition Continues — “Tearing the roof off the place, literally! If you watch until the end you can see a sheet a of steel be pulled down. One at a time, they came down today. Making room for the third floor!” [James Madison High School/Twitter]
Strong Winds Take Out Power for Thousands — About 4,000 people across Northern Virginia lost electricity yesterday (Wednesday) due to strong winds that prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Wind Advisory for the D.C. area until 8 p.m. More than 1,000 people in the Vienna/Oakton area in particular were affected, according to Dominion Energy’s outage map. [Dominion Energy/Twitter]
Vienna Resident Dies in Route 29 Crash — Vienna resident Michael K. Ratzenberger was one of two drivers killed on Sunday (April 18) in a head-on crash on Route 29 in Culpeper County. Virginia State Police said he entered the highway in the wrong direction when his car collided with another vehicle driven by Jose B. Hernandez Solis, 50, of Culpeper. The crash also left four passengers in Solis’s vehicle seriously injured. [The Washington Post]
Fairfax County Judge Orders Release of D.C. Firefighter — “A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge has overturned the 2019 conviction of a Black D.C. firefighter, saying the case was built on false representations from the arresting county police officer.” [WTOP]
Falls Church Little League Awarded Grant for Batting Cages — The Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted on April 14 to approve the Falls Church Kiwanis Little League’s request for $12,737.25 in grant money to construct three hitting stations adjacent to field 2 at Idylwood Park. It was one of three grant requests approved at the meeting. [FCPA]
Madison Field Hockey Team Advances to State Finals — James Madison High School’s field hockey team is going to the state finals after beating W.T. Woodson 2-0 on Tuesday (April 20). A state championship win would be the first for the school’s field hockey program, according to head coach Carrie Holman. [LocalDVM]
Photo by Joanne Liebig
Transportation Group Urges Support for 495 NEXT — The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance reiterated its support for extending toll lanes on the Capital Beltway in a letter to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors ahead of its vote today. The organization argues that the project “will unequivocally improve the quality of life in Northern Virginia, spur further economic development, and meet the transportation needs of future generations.” [NVTA]
McLean Resident Urges Board to Delay 495 NEXT — A McLean resident argues in a letter to the editor that there has been insufficient community outreach about the project, which she says will result in increased congestion on the highway and in local neighborhoods. [Patch]
Madison High School Sets Graduation Ceremony Date — “IN PERSON GRADUATION! June 1 at Jiffy Lube Live. We have many details and logistics to figure out, but we are just excited to announce our graduates will be walking across an actual stage! Be sure to keep up with JMHS emails for details.” [James Madison High School/Twitter]
Fortune Names McLean Companies Among Top 10 Best Places to Work — “Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For…puts two large companies with headquarters in the D.C. region in the top 10. Hilton Worldwide ranks No. 3, while Capital One Financial ranks ninth. Both are headquartered in McLean, Virginia.” [WTOP]
Falls Church City Highlights Reopened Park — Big Chimneys Park on Gibson Street reopened in January after undergoing an extensive renovation that included updating the playground equipment, addressing stormwater issues, and adding a new accessible trail to the Winter Hill neighborhood to the west. [City of Falls Church/Twitter]
Virginia Not Affected by Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Issues — Quality issues that forced Johnson & Johnson to recently discard 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses will not affect the shipments that Virginia receives this week, Virginia Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said on Friday. The Commonwealth will receive more than 200,000 total doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. [WTOP]
Car Stolen from Tysons Nissan Dealership — A 2021 Mazda 6 parked inside the Priority Nissan Tysons dealership at 8525 Leesburg Pike was stolen on March 26. In a separte incident, police located a Ford that they believe was involved in a burglary of an Exxon (801 Dolly Madison Blvd.) in McLean last week. [FCPD]
Dominion Energy Leader Dies After Sudden, Quiet Retirement — “Thomas F. Farrell II, a lawyer who rose to the top of Dominion Energy to dominate Virginia business and politics, has died at age 66, the day after relinquishing his role as executive board chairman of the energy company he had ruled for 15 years.” [The Daily Progress]
Madison Student Athletes Find Success Over Spring Break — “Spring break was only a week and we managed to clinch three Concorde District titles: Football, Field Hockey and Co-Ed Golf. These athletes & coaches surmounted shortened seasons, playing in non-traditional months (and weather) and health protocols to become CHAMPS in their sport” [James Madison High School/Twitter]
Cases over Bijan Ghaisar’s Death Stall in Court — A federal judge assigned to oversee a criminal case and civil lawsuit against U.S. Park Police officers for the 2017 fatal shooting of McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar “has made no moves to hold any hearings on the cases or provide a pretrial briefing and discovery schedule.” The officers were indicted by a Fairfax County grand jury in October but are seeking to have the cases moved to federal court. [The Washington Post]
Statewide Tornado Drill Scheduled for Today — Virginia will conduct a tornado drill at 9:45 a.m. today (Tuesday) as part of its first-ever Virginia Severe Weather Awareness Week, which started yesterday and will last through March 19. The alert will be issued through NOAA Weather Radio stations as well as local radio, TV, and cable outlets. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]
Falls Church City Council Gives Initial Approval to New Noise Ordinance — The city council voted 7-0 to give a preliminary “OK” to a measure that would permit up to 75 decibels of sound up to 10:30 p.m. in business and industrial areas on Friday and Saturday nights. Dates for a public hearing and final approval have not yet been scheduled. [Falls Church News-Press]
Fairfax County Chairman Criticizes Proposed Metro Cuts — Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay says that Metro’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget would be “frustrating and could be harmful in both the short- and long-term to Metro and our Northern Virginia economy,” especially in Tysons. Federal relief funds are expected to stave off the cuts, but they have not been officially taken off the table yet. The public comment period ends today at 5 p.m. [Inside NoVA]
James Madison High School Kicks off Renovation — “We have officially kicked off renovation season! Fencing was installed in our main parking lot today. Changed traffic patterns and relocated parking spaces are just the start of what spring will bring us!” [@JamesMadisonHS/Twitter]
McLean Private School Rallies Support for Food Drive — Students, parents, faculty, and staff at The Langley School all chipped in for a three-week food drive to support the D.C. nonprofit So Others Might Eat. The effort produced more than $5,000 in monetary contributions and more than 2,000 donated non-perishable food items. [Sun Gazette]
Car Crash Shuts Down Eastbound Leesburg Pike — A car crash around 6:48 a.m. on Leesburg Pike near Colvin Run Road forced the eastbound lanes to close. First responder crews extricated a person who was trapped in a car and transported them to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The crash has now been cleared, and the road is back open. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Twitter]
Madison Girls’ Basketball Team Wins State Championship — The Warhawks beat Osbourn Park 54-48 on Saturday (Feb. 20) to earn James Madison High School’s first girls basketball state title since 1993. The team was within a game of the championship last year, but the final contest was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [The Washington Post]
Leesburg Pike Bus Stop to Be Skipped Due to Construction — “Effective February 24, 2021: Until further notice stop #2674 (Leesburg Pike and Lyons St) will be skipped due to ongoing construction on Leesburg Pike. We encourage you to use alternatives a thank you for your patience.” [Fairfax Connector/Twitter]
Second Dead Capitol Police Officer Was Madison Alumnus — The Capitol Police announced on Saturday (Jan. 9) that officer Howard Liebengood had died — reportedly by suicide — after being on the scene when a mob breached the U.S. Capitol last week. Liebengood attended Vienna’s James Madison High School in the 1980s and participated in the school’s wrestling team. [The Washington Post]
Fairfax County Libraries Return to Curbside Service Only — “Effective Monday, Jan. 11, all Fairfax County Public Library branches will provide curbside and virtual services only. Please stay home if you’re sick, if you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or if you’re awaiting your own COVID-19 test results.” [Fairfax County Public Library]
Bowlero to Move into Former Macy’s at Tysons Galleria — “Bowling alley operator Bowlero plans to open its fifth location in Greater Washington this November at Tysons Galleria…The new location will house 36 bowling lanes, more than 70 arcade games, a full-service kitchen, sports bar and audio-visual capabilities including hi-definition video screens above the bowling lanes.” [Washington Business Journal]
Construction on New George Mason High School Nearly Complete — “The new school set to replace the old George Mason High School in the City of Falls Church will be opened in the coming weeks, but in-person learning may not be allowed despite a recently announced reopening plan.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Fairfax County Requests Flexibility and Funding from State — During a public hearing on Jan. 9, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay told the county’s General Assembly delegation that localities need the flexibility to determine their own priorities as they try to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. [WTOP]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
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