In a major step forward in transforming the Original Mount Vernon High School (OMVHS) campus, Fairfax County approved an agreement to create a master redevelopment plan for the site. On Tuesday, Feb. 6, the Board of Supervisors approved the $399,000 agreement with Alexander Company and Elm Street Development. Under the contract, Alexander and Elm Street will work with county staff and the Mount Vernon community to create a master plan to redevelop the approximately 42-acre historic 1939 school campus and park site.
Sited at 8333 Richmond Highway, the school campus had been leased by the Islamic Saudi Academy for 31 years. The site became available for redevelopment when the academy ended its lease in October 2016.
Alexander and Elm Street will have nine months to create a master plan to create shared multi-generational, vibrant community spaces with public and private, residential, educational, recreational and non-profit uses, as well as pedestrian connections to the nearby future bus rapid transit station. This strategic location along Richmond Highway is next to one of nine future bus rapid transit stations that will run along the highway from Huntington Metro Station to Fort Belvoir.
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck stated, “Our goal for the redevelopment of this innovative community campus is to reflect the unique tapestry of the Fairfax County community; create shared, multi-generational community spaces; and serve as an incubator for nonprofits and businesses alike, while being self-sustaining and contributing to the economy of the region.”
“This is a major milestone for residents in the Route One Corridor and another step forward in our efforts to repurpose the building,” said Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay. “I look forward to working with Alexander and Elm Street, as well as the community, to jointly plan for the future of Original Mount Vernon High School. There is no doubt in my mind that a revitalized OMVHS will benefit all of the Route One Corridor and continue our positive momentum.”
The OMVHS redevelopment also supports the county’s strategic plan to grow and diversify the economy.
“The campus is a unique asset, and today’s milestone moves us closer to making it into a vibrant hub along Richmond Highway that advances the county’s goals for economic success and social equity,” said Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill.
While the county was soliciting developers to create a master plan, officials worked to activate the site with interim uses. Last September, the fire marshal opened a satellite office in the old school building and the school’s gym was reopened for use by the South County Teen Center in October 2016. Planning is underway for additional uses by Early Headstart, Headstart and additional teen/senior center programs.
Two developers responded to the county’s bid for a master plan. The team that was chosen, Alexander and Elm Street, is also transforming the former Lorton Prison, also owned by the county, into a modern and vibrant mixed use community called Liberty.
For more information about the OMVHS master development agreement or the overall project, contact Katayoon Shaya, Public Private Partnerships Branch, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, at 703-324-5800, TTY 711.