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‘Visioning Process’ on School Property to Kick Off With June 6 Public Meeting

(Photo: News-Press)
(Photo: News-Press)

Immediately following Monday’s set of unanimous votes rejecting the unsolicited offer by Clark Construction to develop the 39 acres conveyed into the City of Falls Church as a result of the City’s sale of its water system to Fairfax County, the process was kicked off to invite wider participation in the development of the property. On Tuesday, School Board Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones told an early morning meeting of the Mason High/Henderson Middle School Joint Steering Committee that the consulting firm of Cooper Carry was retained to lead a first-step “visioning process” aimed at engaging the community and stake holders in a conversation on how the development might look.

That visioning process, Jones also announced, will be kicked off with a public meeting on Saturday morning, June 6, and that will be followed by a series of smaller stake holder meetings. “We want to engage everybody we can in a short period of time, including Virginia Tech, the Chamber of Commerce, WMATA, parents with no children in the schools, parents with young children who will eventually enter the schools,” she said. A vast data base of contacts will be deployed to get the word out to the entire community, she added.

Also, the F.C. School System will be issuing a “request for proposal” for a consultant to work with them throughout the process that is expected to culminate with a final decision by the end of next year. More work on what the impact on the schools of prospective new housing in proposed new mixed use projects will be, she and Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields agreed. In addition to Jones and Shields, Mayor David Tarter and School Board chair Justin Castillo were present at this morning’s meeting. “These are very exciting times,” Jones exclaimed.

On its website, Cooper Carry describes itself as “a national firm offering architecture, environmental graphic design, interior design, landscape architecture, planning and sustainability consulting services…Our multidisciplinary approach lets us integrate specialized knowledge to create connective architecture, connecting ideas and people to the places where they work, relax, life and learn.” The group has offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and New York.