The Falls Church City Council Monday was presented with the best choices by the School Board for options to construct a new George Mason High School and came away more interested in ways that costs could be shaved off the $110 million price tag for the board’s first choice. The clock is ticking down the time the Council has to determine if the matter will go to the public in a school bond referendum this November.
The options presented by consultants to the School Board last week were rehashed to the Council Monday night (and will be in a public forum this Saturday at 9 a.m. at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School), and they all came in above $100 million, with add-ons to the cost expected to be 5 percent every year the decision is delayed.
As per the tasking from the board, the consultants also presented a range of cost saving measures from reducing the number of classrooms by 10, the size of a performing arts center, reductions in the athletic programs, which combined could save up to $15 million or so. But, in addition to the fact that the Council wants to mull the prospect for economic development from a maximum of 10 acres of the 36 acre site to offset the cost of a new school, it showed interest in the range of cost saving measures, as well.
After the community meeting this Saturday, the matter comes back to the Council next Monday night.