Teens, adults and county officials gathered recently to celebrate the reopening of the gym at the original Mount Vernon High School.
This marks the first milestone in the efforts to reuse this 1930s-era building and campus at 8333 Richmond Highway. Until its lease ended this year, the Islamic Saudi Academy rented the campus for the past 31 years.
“We have a chance to really return this fully to the Mount Vernon and Lee communities and, frankly, make a difference for all of us,” said Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck.
The former school’s gym was refurbished to provide programming space for the South County Teen Center, which is located across Route 1 in the South County Government Center.
The gym was temporarily closed this summer while the space was improved. The refinished and repainted court will be enjoyed by basketball, volleyball, and pickle ball players.
Other improvements included:
- Cleaning and painting
- Repaired lighting
- Installation of an administrative area
- Improved safety and security
- New sports equipment purchased
- Installation of a new scoreboard
- Using the campus for economic development activities, like an incubator or maker spaces;
- Creating housing;
- Providing educational opportunities;
- Offering nonprofits or others space for delivering services.
Options for long term reuse are being explored by a cross-agency team and representatives from the private and nonprofit sectors. The campus also is located near a possible future rapid bus transit station, one of nine planned as part of Embark Richmond Highway.