Falls Church News Briefs: May 14 – 20, 2009

Haycock Elementary PTA Battles Lack of Renovations

Faced with a 177-student overcapacity – 767 children in a school with a capacity of 590 – Haycock Elementary’s parents voiced anger and frustration at a meeting Monday night over a lack of renovations at the school, which hasn’t seen any major construction since its doors opened in 1955.

“The onus is on our representative on the school board,” Samantha Wright, president of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), said of Dranesville District Fairfax (FCPS) school board rep Jane Strauss, who was present at the two-hour long meeting, and fielded questions from parents. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Strauss said. At present, she explained, Haycock is slated to receive a $3-million, 6-classroom modular structure to accommodate another 162 students. Parents demanded a 12-classroom modular, but Strauss warned such a move to alleviate overcrowding now would remove Haycock from the county’s list of “needy schools,” and thus might “push renovations back 15 or 20 years.” As it is, Haycock may receive funding for major renovations and additions by 2012, she explained. Strauss arranged a follow-up meeting for this Monday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Haycock school cafeteria featuring the school system’s Chief Operating Officer Dean Tisdadt and Kevin Sneed, the system’s director of design and construction. Haycock Elementary is located at 6616 Haycock Road in Falls Church.


Rain Garden Nears Completion on Hillwood Ave.

A public-private rain garden that the public can examine in the 500 block of Hillwood Avenue of Falls Church is near completion, according to City Hall. The effort is one of many Storm Water Runoff Mitigation Program projects in the City aimed at mitigating runoff problems with innovative low-impact development (LID) practices. They are funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. The LID practices, such as the planting of rain gardens, installation of porous pavement on trails and placement of cisterns, together with landscaping practices reduces pollutants carried by storm water runoff and helps to protect the local watershed and streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to the Hillwood Avenue site, the installation of four cisterns and two rain gardens at the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School on S. Oak is now underway. While these efforts are designed to mitigate problems of pooling on the school lawn and soil erosion, the rainwater collected in the cisterns will also be used to irrigate nearby trees, shrubs and other plants in the rain gardens. The City of F.C. is also working on a “wet meadow” at its water system’s Chesterbrook Pumping Station on Kirby Road in McLean, in coordination with Chesterbrook Elementary School fourth graders. Porous trails at the Falls Church Fire Station and two cisterns at the City Property Yard have been added, and other rain gardens are planned at the lower intersecton of Buxton Road and Tyson Drive, and along the City’s right-of-way on Lincoln Avenue.

City of F.C. Announces Memorial Day Closings

With its Memorial Day Parade and Festival coming Monday, May 25, the City of Falls Church announced that the following public buildings and programs will be closed that day: City Hall, Courts, DMV Select, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Schools, Senior Center, Sheriff’s Office. There will be no GEORGE bus service, and no pick-ups of yard waste, bundled brush or special collections. The Community Center will be open until 5 p.m. A complete schedule of Memorial Day Parade and Festival activities will be published in next week’s edition of the News-Press.

Chuck Brown To Kick Off Tinner Hill Fete

Organizers of the annual Tinner Hill Festival in Falls Church announced this week that Washington musical legend Chuck Brown will kick off the fete with a performance at the State Theatre on Friday, June 12. Details of the festival on June 13 are forthcoming.