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Bond Money to Impact Reston Fire Station, South Lakes HS

by Karen Goff June 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm 13 Comments

Trailer at South Lakes High School

Fairfax County voters will likely be asked to vote on bond referendums this fall that will have a direct impact on Reston facilities, including a fire station and South Lakes High School.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has authorized a $151 million public safety and $310 million schools bond referendum. That means they can petition the Circuit Court to order the referendums for the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

If voters pass the referendum, $51 million will be used to replace Station 25, the Fairfax County Fire-Rescue station at Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road, as well as renovate or replace Merrifield, Penn Daw, Woodlawn, and Edsall stations.

Station 25 is one of the busiest stations in the county, Fairfax County says. It was built in 1972 and last renovated in 1986.

Fairfax County’s Capital Improvement Plan says $13,000,000 is needed for replacement as the building systems and infrastructure are well beyond the end of their life cycle. The replacement would include an expansion to a four-bay station. The fire station lacks women’s accommodations to include bunk rooms, lockers and bathroom facilities to meet 50 percent of minimum shift staffing. It is also in need of a workout room, an expanded men’s locker room area and laundry facilities.

The school bond referendum will go towards an addition for South Lakes High School, as well as renovating nine elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools, along with planning for a new Northwest County-area elementary school.

South Lakes underwent a major overhaul in 2006-07, and then was part of a contentious redistricting that quickly turned the school from one of FCPS’ smallest to one that needed more space. Many classes are currently held in portable classrooms.

The school is over its capacity of 2,300 students. With population growing at nearly every FCPS school, the school district puts South Lakes capacity at 140 percent by 2017-18, according to FCPS’ 2013 Capital Improvement Plan. Projected enrollment by 2017 is 2,983, according to FCPS’ analysis.

Part of the SLHS renovations are already financed by the most recent $225 million school bond referendum, which was authorized in 2013.

Other bond money will go to renovate the Franconia District Police station ($100 million); to build a new, joint animal shelter and police station in the South County area; for construction and renovation for the Police heliport, Operations Support Bureau facilities and Emergency Vehicle Operations and K9 Center.

The proposal is one of the largest school bonds in recent years. Voters approved a $365 million bond in 2007.

The county has received the highest triple A rating from Moody’s Investors, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. The county is one of only nine states, 39 counties, and 33 cities to hold a triple-A rating from all three rating agencies, so Fairfax County’s bonds sell at relatively low interest rates compared to other tax-free bonds.

Photo: Portable classroom at South Lakes High School

  • Holly Koppel

    Where are they planning on putting this new, bigger fire station? There isn’t any room on Wiehle Ave/Sunset Hills. What they should do is rip out the existing one, relocate it somewhere else, and re-engineer that intersection to allievate traffic in the area. Instead, let’s build a newer building, add more housing to the area, and keep the existing traffic lights the way they are. That’s a genius idea.

    • Lisa W

      Exactly what I wanted to say.

    • Sunshine

      North Reston already has a big and fairly new fire station at Reston Avenue and Rt. 7.

  • Lisa W

    Maybe it’s time Reston had a second high school, in north Reston? Lake Anne HS or something?

    • Karen Goff

      That was in the works years ago, but is off the table now. More likely they will redistrict again.

      • Terry Maynard

        Based on conversations several Reston 2020 people had with FCPS staff and Hunter Mill District School Board Rep. Pat Hynes during the Reston master planning process, the plan is to build a new high school near the western FC boundary (forget exactly where at this time–and that will need a referendum too) and shift neighboring school boundaries eastward somewhat (maybe sending those transferred Madison kids back to Vienna). Timeframe also unknown.

        An additional elementary school is also planned in the area near USGS headquarters–a quarter mile from Dogwood (!), not in the north Wiehle station area where it is most needed and space is available.

    • Guy Montag

      Perhaps one that’s dedicated to ESL so those that are focused on actual academics will not be held back

  • meh

    I hope the fire house will also get a gender neutral bunk room, lockers and bathroom facilities. It might double the cost of putting in women facilities, but at least it will be fair. Sheeple voters always approve school bonds no matter how much they borrow.

  • Greg

    $100 million for a police station????

  • Chuck Morningwood

    No bonds for me, please. When it comes to government finances, If it’s worth buying, then it’s worth paying for in cash.

  • Wings!!

    If they were to build a new fire station, the current one on Wiehle would make a nice location for a Hooters. Take a bike ride down the W&OD and stop by the Hooters for a beer and some wings.
    #HootersForReston

  • Steve Johnson

    “$100 million to build a new, joint animal shelter and police station.” – What is this, the Ritz Carlton for dogs and officers? That sounds like an awful lot of money if you ask me.

    • Greg

      It is indeed. We just renovated and expanded the old animal shelter on West Ox — it’s luxurious, but apparently we need another, nicer one. After all, there’s a bear population problem here.

      No better place to be an (unwanted) animal, a cop, or a firefighter than Fairfax County. Plus, when those task force rescue team ninjas deploy, you betcha they are being paid time and a half if not more.

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