OMVHS prepares for construction kickoff in spring 2024


Participants in South County Teen and Senior Center programming at the Original Mount Vernon High School (OMVHS) will be relocated to nearby Fairfax County facilities starting in September as the county prepares to award a construction contract later this year and begin all-out renovations of the building in spring 2024.

According to Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS), around 372 teens and seniors registered in OMVHS programs, plus staff, will be affected by the displacement, though they will have the option to sign up for programs at the center of their choosing — including Lorton Community Center, Hybla Valley Community Center or the Kingstowne Center for Active Adults.

The decision to relocate now rather than closer to spring was made to minimize the potential negative impacts on programming, ensure a seamless transition of communal meals and transportation services, and reduce disruption to winter programs, said NCS communications director Cristin Bratt.

The gymnasium at OMVHS will remain open for limited programming — specifically scheduled drop-in activities like pickleball and basketball — until closing for construction in the spring, said Bratt.

The $81 million OMVHS renovation project currently is in the final design and quality assurance/quality control phase with the building permit and site plan review ongoing, according to Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES). A construction manager at risk is part of the project team, said DPWES public information officer Sharon North, and negotiations with them will start this fall, with the goal of awarding a construction contract by the end of 2023.

Next spring, the construction team will start building new site infrastructure, including a storm sewer, sanitary sewer, water lines, parking lots and around 180 geothermal wells under the proposed parking lot behind the facility, according to a recent county news update. Inside the building, contractors will restore the historic windows, install a sprinkler system, renovate the entrance and build a pedestrian bridge between the Teen/Senior Center and the formal Welcome Center. Construction is currently slated to wrap up in spring 2026.

The county plans to hold a Planning Commission Public Hearing Sept. 20 and a Board of Supervisors hearing Sept. 26 to resecure approval for a Special Exception Amendment enabling OMVHS to be used for non-school purposes.

One of the originally planned uses of the building that won’t be happening, at least in the immediate future, is a culinary incubation program. According to North, the company that was previously selected through a request for proposal (RFP) process decided not to move forward with the lease of the space.

The county is still evaluating responses to the performing arts program and theater operations RFP, said North.

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