Tysons Corner, VA

Swinks Mill Road Reopens in McLean — Severely damaged by flooding in July, the road at Scotts Run reopened Friday (Oct. 18). [VDOT/Twitter]

McLean Resident Retires From NVTC — “Northern Virginia Technology Council’s (NVTC) president and CEO Bobbie Kilberg is set to retire on June 30 after 22 years leading the organization.” [Technical.ly]

Pedestrian Killed Along Route 50 in Falls Church — “A police cruiser struck and killed a man who was crossing an intersection in West Falls Church, Virginia, early Sunday morning, police say.” [NBC4]

Home Catches Fire in Dunn Loring — Firefighters responded to a house fire in the 8100 block of Timber Valley Court in Dunn Loring area on Saturday. The fire is now out. “No reported injuries at this time.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter]

How Walkable is Tysons? — Find out what it’s like to stroll around Tysons with a walkability researcher, who measured the noise levels and air quality. [Greater Greater Washington]

New Leader at McLean Private School — “BASIS Independent McLean, a preK to grade 12 private school in McLean, Va., recently named Paul Geise as its head of school. As a veteran educator with more than 40 years of experience, Geise excels in leadership of schools in the United States and United Kingdom, specializing in strategic plans and fostering student and community development in schools.” [Patch]

Marshall HS Students Visit Capital One HQ — “Members of Marshall High’s Latinos United Club took a field trip to Capital One’s headquarters in McLean to meet with their mentors. Students learned about the vast career opportunities in technology at Capital One and participated in various activities with the mentors including job shadowing, panel discussions, and a tour.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

USA Today May Phase Out Print Edition — “After a nearly 40-year run, USA Today and its digital sites are about to undergo a major restructuring that will include building up digital marketing while phasing out the print edition.” [Poynter]

Falls Church Receives High Bond Ratings — “For the second consecutive year, the city has earned the highest credit rating from all three major bond rating agencies.” [City of Falls Church]

Falls Church Polling Place Moved — “Due to delays in a renovation of the Falls Green apartments (formerly Oakwood), the City of Falls Church’s Ward 2 polling place has to be moved for the upcoming Nov. 5 election.” [Falls Church News-Press]

New Natural Health Center in Vienna — “The Health Improvement Center, a natural health care center, has moved to a new location in Vienna. The move to a larger space happened in August, while a ribbon-cutting is set for Nov. 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The new location is 407 Church Street NE Suite C.” [Patch]

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Locals want more eco-friendly guidelines as Fairfax County looks ahead to the next 10 to 20 years.

Roughly four dozen attendees showed up to the meeting at Marshall High School last night (Wednesday) to provide feedback on the county’s preliminary strategies.

After brief presentations by County Executive Brian Hill and James Patterson, the manager of the countywide strategic planning process, attendees were able to choose three out of the nine areas they wanted to learn more about by talking to team members.

Attendees were given copies of the preliminary strategies — 166 in total — and asked to provide feedback to the teams.

The county is especially interested in these nine areas:

  • cultural and recreational opportunities
  • economic opportunity
  • education and lifelong learning
  • effective and efficient government
  • health and environment
  • housing and neighborhood livability
  • mobility and transportation
  • safety and security
  • self-sufficiency for people with vulnerabilities

The nine areas have five shared themes: affordability, equity, sustainability, innovation and collaboration, Patterson said.

Many of the people told the various teams that they support environmentally-friendly strategies, urging the staffers to strengthen or add language that would reduce pollution and waste. “I feel like the environment is critical,” one attendee said.

Locals talking to the “Health and Environment” team pushed for replanting of older instead of younger trees and stronger recycling rules.

People also suggested mandating that businesses recycle, adding urban gardens to schools and reducing food waste. Several attendees expressed frustration about unclear recycling rules and suggested that Fairfax County use stickers and more communication to clarify its glass recycling rules.

“We’re a wealthy county,” one person said. “Give us a glass recycling bin.”

While attendees seemed to come to a consensus that they want stronger protections in place to protect the environment, not everyone agreed on the specifics. In response to a suggested plastic ban, an attendee pointed out that plastic bans can hurt low-income families.

Over at the “Mobility and Transportation” station, people pushed for more frequent bus transit, suggesting different size buses — like double-deckers and buses of various lengths — to accommodate more riders.

Brent Riddle, a transportation planner for Fairfax County, said that the staffers are exploring different ways to add more cross-county transportation, like adding buses between Annadale and the Mosaic District and creating bus-only lanes.

“Public transit is more oriented as a feeder system into D.C,” Riddle said about current transit options.

Overall, attendees said that it’s better to incentivize group travel than disadvantage single-occupancy vehicles — possibly hurting lower-income communities in the process.

Some of the strategies that attendees showed strong support for include:

  • Increase the walkable access (within half-mile or 10-mile walk countywide) to parks, facilty entrances or trailheads to connect people to nature and receational experiences, prioritizing implementation in areas with disparate health outcomes and other equity measures.
  • Prioritize and incentivize the use of high-occupany vs. single-occupant vehicles; this includes transit buses, vanpools and carpools.
  • Shift the design of selected roadways away from a sole focus on automobile traffic to a multi-modal focus by incorporating sidewalks, bike lanes and high-occupancy vehicle and bus lanes and rail lines.

The meeting last night was the last of six recent meetings to seek community input. Currently, county staffers are working to develop and refine strategies before finalizing the draft by the end of the year, Patterson said. Early next year, the draft will get publicized and adopted by the Board of Supervisors.

The county plans to use the input to identify priority areas and success metrics for the county-wide strategic plan.

People can still submit feedback on the preliminary strategies through an online survey that is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Urdu and Vietnamese.

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Updated at 2:15 p.m. — Includes new information from Marshall High School. 

A smell of burnt material prompted students to evacuate from Marshall High School this afternoon (Wednesday).

Fighterfighters from Fairfax and Arlington counties responded to the Tysons area school (7731 Leesburg Pike) for an “odor of burnt material,” Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweeted at 1:35 p.m.

“Believed to be an HVAC unit. There is NO fire or smoke,” the tweet said.

All of the students have been evacuated from the school and the “situation is under control,” according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

In an email to the “Marshall Family,” Principal Jeffrey Litz said that everyone went back inside the school around 1:50 p.m. after fire department personnel conducted air quality tests.

“The facilities department of Fairfax County Public Schools will continue to investigate the cause of the alarm,” Litz wrote.

Here’s the entire letter:

Dear Marshall Family,

Today, the students and staff of Marshall High School were evacuated from the building at approximately 1:25 PM when the fire alarm rang as a result of some smoke in a classroom from a rooftop air conditioning unit. All students and staff members left the building in an orderly fashion, and everyone was immediately determined to be safe and accounted for.

The fire department responded promptly and determined that there was no fire and no safety risk existed. Fire department personnel conducted air quality tests and subsequently allowed everyone to return to the building. The facilities department of Fairfax County Public Schools will continue to investigate the cause of the alarm.

While the fire department was investigating to determine the cause of the alarm, all students and staff were outside until students were allowed back in their classrooms at approximately 1:50 PM. All of this was done in an organized fashion, and students were always under adult supervision.

Thank you to everyone who cooperated during our dismissal procedures. We are pleased that no real problem was detected, and our emergency plans were effective. We will still hold Back to School Night this evening and look forward to seeing you soon.

Regards,

Jeffrey D. Litz

Principal

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Fairfax County wants community input as it looks ahead to the next 20 years.

To solicit ideas and feedback, the county is hosting six community meetings around the county this month. The county will use the input to identify priority areas and success metrics for the county-wide strategic plan.

The Tysons and Falls Church area meeting will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike) on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The county is especially interested in these nine areas:

  • cultural and recreational opportunities
  • economic opportunity
  • education and lifelong learning
  • effective and efficient government
  • health and environment
  • housing and neighborhood livability
  • mobility and transportation
  • safety and security
  • self-sufficiency for people with vulnerabilities

“Whether you are new to Fairfax County, have lived here all your life or are somewhere in between, we’re interested in your vision for the future of the county and your community,” according to the county website.

People interested in attending who need childcare, transportation assistance, interpretation services or ADA accommodations can reach Angela Jones at 703-324-5302, TTY 711, or [email protected]

Photo via Facebook

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Candidates’ Cycling Stances — The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling sent questions to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors candidates about where they stand on cycling issues. [FABB]

Stream Restoration Celebration — A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (June 1) celebrated the completion of the Dead Run Stream Restoration in McLean Central Park, which included work on about 3,200 linear feet of stream.  [Fairfax County]

McLean Start-Up Bought For Millions —  “Just five years after opening up shop, McLean, Va.-based Verodin is giving its early investors a healthy return. California-based cybersecurity software provider FireEye has acquired the cybersecurity startup for $250 million, the companies announced Wednesday.” [American Inno]

Marshall HS Students Designed Violin Bow Prosthetic — “Marshall High’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Design and Technology students designed a violin bow prosthetic for a fourth-grade student at Centre Ridge Elementary… Some parts of the robotic arm were created using a 3D printer. Remarkably, the project team was able to work on the prosthesis virtually and has not met the Centre Ridge student, but hopes to do so soon.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

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After 32,000 student trips, the free Metrobus pilot program at Justice High School in Falls Church could be expanding to Marshall High School in Tysons.

Students across the county can use the Fairfax Connector and City of Fairfax CUE bus for free, and students account for 1.4 million trips on those buses in less than 4 years, but the passes have not been usable on the Metro system.

Over the last eight months, 35 percent of students at Justice High School have gotten a Metrobus-enabled student bus pass. Students at the school account for 3,500-4,000 trips per month.

Nearly half of the ridership among Justice High School students was on Metrobus Route 28A, which runs along Route 7 from King Street in Alexandria to Tysons.

Of students surveyed as part of the pilot, 70 percent had never ridden a Metrobus to or from school and 52 percent said they would not ride unless it was free. The majority of students said they also wanted to see more routes, extended hours and Metrorail service added.

The top three uses for the pass were traveling home or to activity centers — Tysons specifically — or to an after-school job.

At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Transportation Committee meeting on Tuesday (May 14), faculty and students from Justice High School told the committee about their experiences with the program as the committee considered an expansion of the pilot.

A similar pilot program is planned for either Marshall High School, Falls Church High School or Annandale High School in the 2020-2021 school year.

“Students take the bus to the mall and the movies, but they also go to work with it,” Justice High School Principal Maria Eck said. “I met with a student on a totally different topic, but he told me he got a better job because of the bus pass. Now he can find a job he can get transportation to, and he’s going up to Tysons to help his family.”

Staff recommended renewing the agreement with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to continue the pilot at Justice High School next year.

“When I first heard about it, I couldn’t believe it,” Carlos Pineda-Lopez, a student at Justice High School, said. “Now, I’m not paying $40 a week for Metro. It’s been amazing. For a family that makes $30,000 with both parents combined, that adds up. Sometimes I couldn’t go to practice or work and that would hurt my family. This bus pass increased my mobility and range of jobs. Now, I can go anywhere in Virginia. That’s how the pass has helped me. It’s helped as a next step towards adulthood.”

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Vienna MAC Project Moving Forward — “The Vienna Town Council on April 29 voted 5-2 set a June 3 public hearing to discuss town’s fifth MAC application, a proposal by Sunrise Development Inc. to build a senior-living center with ground-floor retail space at 100-112 Maple Ave., E.” [Inside NoVa]

Langley, McLean High School Students Lauded — “The Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce lauded stand-out students, teachers and support-staff members from Langley and McLean high schools May 1 at the organization’s 2019 Education Awards.” [Inside NoVa]

Q&A With Stomping Ground Owner — Nicole Jones shared why Tysons Galleria for her new second cafe — A Taste of Urbanspace. [Arlington Magazine]

Marshall High School Students Making News — Students’ films made the documentary and animation categories in the 2019 Virginia High School League Film Festival, which will be held June 1 in Charlottesville. The Marshall High Architecture, Construction, Engineering Mentor team took home the first place trophy for ACE DC Competition. [FCPS, FCPS]

Rankings Show Virginia Teacher Pay Needs Boost — “Teachers in the District of Columbia are among the best paid in the country, while Virginia teachers have plenty of ground to make up, according to a nationwide analysis published last week by one of the country’s largest education unions… Virginia teachers earned an average of $51,994 a year for 32nd among the states, while starting teacher pay is $40,453 annually, ranking the Commonwealth at 16th.”

Spotlight on Vienna’s Food Scene — “The upscale town of Vienna has become an international food scene–restaurants from Thai, Mexican, American, Japanese, British, and Indian to Chinese, Middle Eastern and Italian–provide a global culinary tapestry.” [Vienna Connection]

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Several public high schools in the Tysons-area, including Langley and McLean high schools, made the cut for U.S. News and World Report’s annual roundup of best high schools on the state and national levels.

“Schools are ranked on their performance on state-required tests, graduation and how well they prepare students for college,” according to U.S. News and World Report.

Fairfax County Public Schools dominated U.S. News and World Report’s “Best High Schools in Virginia,” and five out of the eight Fairfax County schools included two in McLean, two in Vienna and one in Falls Church:

  1. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology: Alexandria
  2. Langley High School: McLean
  3. McLean High School: McLean
  4. Oakton High School: Vienna
  5. Open High School: Richmond
  6. Marshall High: Falls Church
  7. Madison High: Vienna
  8. West Springfield High School: Springfield
  9. W.T. Woodson High School: Fairfax
  10. Deep Run High School: Glen Allen

The Tysons-area high schools bumped up a few spots for this year’s list. Last year, Langley ranked #3, McLean was #5, Oakton was #6 and Marshall was #8.

Their rankings on the national level hit the top 200 and 300 categories:

  • Langley: #123
  • McLean: #127
  • Oakton: #173
  • Marshall: #251
  • Madison: #261

Image via Google Maps

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New development is underway across Tysons, but school officials believe it will take years yet for buildings to reach capacity.

In McLean, however, overcrowding at all levels is a problem that’s likely going to get worse over the next few years.

According to the Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), McLean High School and nearly all of the schools that feed into it will be over capacity by the start of the 2020-2021 school year. While additions are planned for West Potomac, Justice, and Madison High Schools, there are no plans in the CIP for major additions to McLean High School.

McLean High School is currently at 114 percent capacity and is projected to go up to 127 percent capacity by the 2022 school year, as the school built to handle 1,993 students welcomes 2,524. Over the next few years, the CIP says temporary classrooms, modular additions and boundary changes are possible for McLean High School.

The elementary schools feeding into McLean High School — Chesterbrook, Franklin Sherman, Haycock, Kent Gardens, and Timber Lane — also face challenges in the coming years. Chesterbrook, Haycock, and Kent Gardens all exceed 100 percent capacity and projections from the school show that overcrowding continuing for at least the next five years. Kent Gardens currently has 117 percent capacity and is projected to reach 119 percent of its capacity next year.

More temporary classrooms are proposed for Chesterbrook, Haycock and Kent Gardens, with new modular facilities or building additions at Chesterbrook and Kent Gardens. New boundary changes are also possible for Haycock and Kent Gardens.

Marshall High School, which covers the Tysons area, fares a little better in terms of overcrowding than McLean. The school is currently at 95 percent capacity and isn’t projected to reach 100 percent capacity until the 2023 school year.

The only Tysons-area elementary school facing severe overcrowding over the next five years is Shrevewood Elementary School, currently at 118 percent capacity and projected to increase to 125 percent capacity by 2023. Temporary classrooms, building additions, and boundary adjustment are all being considered as potential solutions to address overcrowding at Shrevewood.

While school staff downplayed the immediate impact of residential developments on schools, in the long run, the school CIP will need to include plans for a growing student population in the Tysons area.

“In addition to the estimated student yields, for comprehensive plan studies, recommendations to address future school facilities needs are provided to Fairfax County government,” staff wrote. “Recent long-range planning initiatives include [the] Tysons Urban Center, Merrifield Suburban Center, [and] McLean CBC.”

New residential developments are proposed to form the core of the downtown McLean Community Business Center. At least 4,000 new residential units are planned for the Spring Hill development alone, according to the Tysons Partnership.

By 2027, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) hopes to start planning for a new elementary school in the area to handle the youngest generation of Tysonians.

The FCPS 10-year Capital Improvement Plan shows planning for a new Tysons Elementary School FY 2027, and repurposing of the Pimmit Hills school a year later as an elementary school to provide capacity relief to other schools feeding into McLean High School.

FCPS documents show plans to seek funding for Tysons Elementary and the Pimmit Hills Repurposing in a 2025 referendum.

A public hearing for the CIP is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. in Luther Jackson Middle School (3020 Gallows Rd). A School Board decision on the CIP is scheduled for Jan. 24.

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Morning Notes

Marshall Football Game Moved — Marshall High School’s senior night and football game against Wakefield has been moved from Friday to tonight (Thursday) due to expected heavy rain on Friday. [Twitter, Twitter]

Tysons Ritz to Offer Free Election Day Cocktail — “A complimentary cocktail, called Where the Left and Right Meet (Jack Daniels, California mulled wine reduction, lemon juice, simple syrup), will be served to all guests wearing an ‘I Voted’ sticker.” [Eater]

What $3.5 Million Buys in McLean — “The amenities range from spa-like baths, a sauna, media room, bar area to an elevator and room for a pool and tennis court. The bedrooms themselves could be considered highlights too. Among the choosings are a master suite with a sitting room and balcony and a lower level suite with a separate entrance.” [Patch]

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