Reston, VA

Developers broke ground yesterday (Wednesday) on a much-discussed new senior living community in Great Falls.

Slated to open in the summer of 2022, The Residence of Colvin Run at 1131 Walker Road will be a 53,000 square-foot facility set on 2.8 acres. It’s about a half-mile from the Colvin Run Mill historic site.

The senior living facility will offer 62 single and double occupancy units for adults 65 and older. That includes 44 assisted living apartments and 18 memory care residences.

Amenities will include an art studio, a theater designed for the hearing-impaired, several dining venues, an open-hearth brick oven, and a trail connecting to neighborhood businesses.

In terms of staffing, about 60 employees are expected to be on payroll, operator IntegraCare tells Reston Now.

Renderings depict an architecture that seems similar to a small cottage or a Craftsman-style look with lots of brick and wood.

Senior living facilities of this nature are becoming more in demand as the area’s population ages. In opening remarks, it was noted that nearly 34% of the Great Falls population is over 55 years old.

“In our experiences, we’ve found that seniors want to continue to live in the communities that they raised their families in,” IntegraCare CEO Larry Rouvelas said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “The need to build senior housing communities in the specific neighborhoods that people grew up in is an important part of their quality of life.”

IntegraCare also operates a senior living facility in Hunters Woods on Colt Neck Road.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust has been a consistent supporter of the project, stating that the development fulfills three of his goals for the district and Fairfax County at large.

“First of all, we’re very interested in economic development. This is a business. Secondly, we have a large population that’s aging, and this is a fantastic facility for them to age,” Foust said. “And third, from a land-use standpoint, it’s a beautiful building that’s going to fit into the character of Great Falls and make it even better.”

He also emphasized the concept of “placemaking,” as in providing amenities and creating a community that attracts companies and a workforce.

“It used to be that you built a factory and people came to that factory to work. Today, we build a community that people want to live in. The [workforce] comes to you and the employers come to them,” Foust said.

Foust also believes a greater supply of senior living options will be needed throughout Fairfax County in the future, since the county as a whole is getting older.

According to the county’s latest demographic information, about 14% of county residents — or 164,000 people — are 65 years old or older.

By 2025, that number is expected to tick up by 30,000 people and encompass 16% of the county’s total population. In 2035, as much as 17.5% of county residents — a total of 226,000 people — could be 65 or older.

“The aging of the population has created a need. Fortunately, we have developments like this one to try to meet that demand,” Foust said. “But demand right now far exceeds any supply that we’ve been able to create. So, it’s great to see this type of development occurring across the county for the foreseeable future.”

Construction on The Residence of Colvin Run is expected to take 15 months, with an additional two months for permitting. That puts the opening somewhere between July and September of 2022.

Work on the facility’s footings and foundations will commence in about a month, and then, in about three months, residents and passersby will see a steel frame being erected. The exterior skin will go on after that.

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Three left lanes on the eastbound Dulles Toll Road will be closed tonight so that construction crews can perform civil work near the Herndon Metro station.

The closures will start at 9 p.m. around the 3.3 mile marker by the rail station and extend past the Reston Town Center Metro station to the 5.2 mile marker just beyond Reston Parkway, according to a construction alert from the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

“Drivers are asked to use caution and pay attention to all signage and barricades,” the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project says. “Traffic should be aware of the change in pattern.”

Traffic stoppages on the toll road could last up to 20 minutes at a time.

Christopher Beausoleil, a project manager for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, tells Reston Now that the lane closures are necessary to allow crews to repair a damaged safety cable on the roof of the pedestrian bridge connecting the Herndon station to the new Herndon-Monroe Parking Garage.

According to Beausoleil, the repairs needed are relatively minor, but the Dulles Toll Road lanes will be closed “out of an abundance of caution” to ensure the workers’ safety, since they aren’t allowed to be on the pedestrian bridge when there is traffic on the highway below.

While the lanes are scheduled to be closed until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday), Beausoleil says the actual repair work will likely not take that long. It could potentially be completed within half an hour.

“It will probably be shorter than advertised,” Beausoleil said.

A full list of lane and ramp closures scheduled for this week in the Dulles Toll Road corridor due to ongoing construction activities related to the Silver Line phase two project can be found on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project website.

Image via Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Passengers on several Fairfax Connector service will have to use a different bus stop.

The bus stop at the intersection of Colts Brook Drive and Sunrise Drive has been permanently removed due to sidewalk construction, according to a statement released online.

The county’s department of transportation is constructing a missing segment of walkway along Sunrise Valley Drive westbound between Colts Brook Drive and Hitchcock Drive, according to Anna Nissinen, a county spokeswoman told Reston Now.

A six-foot-wide asphalt walkway is planned in the area. The project would also upgrade existing curb ramps so that they are ADA compliant.

The bus stop at Colts Brook Drive was removed to encourage pedestrians to cross Sunrise Valley Drive at the nearest signal location at Monroe Street using the marked crosswalks, she said. The walkway is intended to provide another way for pedestrians to access the Herndon Metro Station.

Passengers are encouraged to use another stop with the identification number of 3540 at the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Milburn Lane instead.

The bus stop will no longer be served by routes 924, 926, 927, 929, 937, 950, 952.

The project will likely be completed next month.

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Nosie Barrier being installed along Route 7, between Reston Avenue and Utterback Store Road (Photo courtesy of VDOT)

(Update 3/3) A major project to widen nearly seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive remains on track for completion by July 31, 2024.

It is also expected to be completed within its $314 million budget, confirms Jennifer McCord, a  Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

The improvements include widening the heavily-trafficked road – also known as Leesburg Pike – from four to six lanes, adding shared-use paths for pedestrians and bikers, and making major design changes to intersections.

It’s all being done within the guidelines of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.

The project was first discussed nearly a decade ago, approved in 2017 with construction beginning two years ago, in the spring of 2019. It’s expected to take just over five years to complete.

Over the last two months, construction has continued at different sections of the road.

Between Reston Avenue and Utterback Store Road, a noise barrier is currently being added as well as the installation of a storm sewer between Reston Avenue and Baron Cameron Avenue.

From Baron Cameron Avenue to Colvin Run Road, existing asphalt was removed.

In the Difficult Run Area, work has continued on the new Colvin Run as well as excavation for the pedestrian tunnel that will run under Route 7.

Between Faulkner Drive to Jarrett Valley Drive, water main relocations and traffic shifts are taking place.

Landscaping work and third-party utility relocations are underway throughout the roadway.

This construction has also resulted in a number of traffic changes and lane closures that are constantly shifting.

In the upcoming months, crews will begin removing the Route 7 bridge over Difficult Run and will eventually complete a higher, longer bridge to replace it.

Colvin Run will also be diverted to a new stream channel. Small weirs (barriers) are being placed in the stream bed to encourage a meandering flow pattern and vegetation growth.

Construction will also continue on the pedestrian tunnel underneath Route 7 connecting the north and south sections of Colvin Run Mill Park.

Despite the ongoing work, public access to the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail will be maintained.

While crews continue to work with COVID-19 safety protocols in effect, the decreased traffic volume in the earlier part of the pandemic has allowed VDOT to extend work hours in certain cases.

Photo courtesy of VDOT

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The first apartment tower at Faraday Park, a new apartment neighborhood, is set for completion in March.

Developed by Rooney Partners and Bozzuto, the project will house roughly 400 residential units near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. The apartments are located at 11201 Reston Station Boulevard.

Chris Oursler, the director of construction and development for Rooney Properties, says the project was built to fulfill the needs of the community.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the growing community here in Reston,” Oursler wrote in a statement.

Rents for units, which include studios and three-bedroom apartments, range from 1,605 to 4,032, according to the company’s website.

Once completely built out, Faraday Park will include a maker’s workshop area, photo booth, fitness center, commercial kitchen, pet spa, cowering areas, and several lounges. A rooftop pool with cabanas and grill stations are also planned for the site, which was designed by DC-based architecture firm MV+A.

Faraday West, which is closest to the Metro station, contains 242 apartments with around 10,000 square feet of retail at the corner of Reston Station Boulevard and Michael Faraday Drive. Faraday East, which replaced surface parking, has 166 modern apartments. Both buildings are flanked by four-story townhouses.

The second tower on the site is set to be completed in May. Pre-leasing has begun.

Image via Bozzuto

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Due to uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, the Town of Herndon is taking a precautionary approach as it develops its capital improvement program for the next six years.

In a memo to the town’s Planning Commission, staff noted that the latest plan prioritizes a handful of projects and delays others, noting that there are “major uncertainties” facing the plan.

“It may be viewed as a best-case scenario and the commission should recognize that the Town Council could face a decision to sequester all or part of the project funding,” staff wrote in a memo to the commission.

Town Manager Bill Ashton has suggested prioritizing three or four projects in case funding sources fall through. Projects were prioritized based on legal or contractual obligations, whether or not the project served a public safety priority, or if federal, state, and local timelines required the project to move forward.

This year’s plan includes the following new projects

  • Herndon Parkway and Sunset Park Drive intersection improvements
  • Police parking lot expansion
  • Replacement of roof and four HVAC units for the building located at 1481 Sterling Road
  • Design and construction of energy conservation measures at Herndon’s four major buildings
  • Town Shop underground fuel storage tanks

The Town’s Capital Improvement Program becomes a part of the town’s annual operating budget. It is a planning document used to detail funding sources through major project stages from design to construction.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Association has finished construction on a new Polo Fields Bridge, which is located near Cross Country Lane and Stirrup Iron Lane.

The roughly $55,000 project was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, underground utility obstruction and bad weather, according to RA.

Work on the project began in Jan. 2020 and the structure has a 50 year service span.

RA also recently updated its interactive capital project map, which offers additional information on the progress of projects.

For example, RA removing plaster from the inside of Lake Audubon pool and installing new plaster, tile and coping stones. The work is expected to produce noise and dust.

Photo via RA

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With Herndon High School’s phase two renovations now completed, the school has moved to phase three. This includes renovations to the auditorium, music, performing, and fine arts rooms, auxiliary gym, and wrestling and gymnastics room.

All of the work should be completed this summer and be ready for students when they are back in the building full-time next school year, assistant principal Jim Hannon tells Reston Now.

The main gym was part of phase two renovations and that was finished late last year, complete with new bleachers. December, when a limited crowd was allowed to attend a basketball game, was the first time they were used.

Work has moved at a decent clip with students and full staff not in the building due to COVID-19 restrictions.

However, Hannon says it’s been “a little bit of a wash” in terms of construction moving any faster. He says that many of the areas being renovated are in isolated areas anyway and the number of construction workers are more limited to social distancing requirements.

After phase three, renovations will begin on the tennis courts, adding additional parking, stadium press box and concession stand, and the food prep area of the cafeteria. That’s the final phase of renovations that first began more than two years ago.

In all, the renovation project is adding more than 138,000 square feet to the more than five-decade old high school building, expanding it by about a third. It will have a capacity of 2,500 students.

Hannon says that all of that work should be done by summer 2022.

Photo courtesy of Jim Hannon

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Construction on the long-anticipated new Fire and Reston Station 25 on Wiehle Avenue in Reston is coming along and is planning to be set for occupancy towards the end of 2021, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue’s assistant public information officer Bill Delaney tells Reston Now.

Late last month (Dec. 2020), the department tweeted that the station would be ready by the summer.

Delaney says the delay is due to extremely wet weather over the last few months and “other challenges that are normal parts of the building process.”

The initial timeline floated in 2018 for completion in spring 2021, so the project appears to be behind that original projected date.

The nearly $15 million project will more than double the size of the previous station. The 17,150 square-foot, two-story facility will have four bays. It will also be able to accommodate up to 20 firefighters per shift and six apparatus equipment including a new engine, according to the architect’s description. The station is targeting LEED Silver certification.

County plans from early in 2018 said the design would have a “contemporary look to compliment the urban feel of Reston Town Center.”

Funding for the new station was included on the Public Safety Bond Referendum approved by voters in 2015. Four other fire stations were included in the referendum for renovation or rebuild. The Woodlawn station in Alexandria is set to open for occupancy in the spring and Edsall Road station in Springfield is scheduled for next year.

The new Reston station is being built on the same site as the old station. That one was built in 1972 and last upgraded in 1986. It was only 2.5 bays and deemed “grossly undersized” for the community.

For comparison, Reston’s population in 1972 was about 16,000, according to the Reston Museum. In 2019, it was more than 61,000. 

In January 2020, fire fighters moved to a temporary station nearby at 1840 Cameron Glen Drive until the new station is ready for occupancy.

A Fairfax County official told the Patch at the time that the move would have no impact on the station’s ability to serve the community.

Demolition started in March on the old fire station.

Photo courtesy of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

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Friday Morning Notes

New Construction Acquired for $105 Million — Snell Properties has acquired the new construction multifamily building at 11500 Commerce Park Drive in Reston from Lincoln Property Company for $105M. Now called, Russell at Reston Station the building features 260 apartments, a mix of 1 through 3 bedrooms with amenities including a pool, fitness center, and library.” [BLDUP]

Reston Association Seeks Members for Focus Group — The association is looking for members to take part in a website focus group as it gears up to launch a new website this year. [RA]

Dunkin’ Offers Coffee for Fairfax County Blood Donors — Dunkin’ of Washington, D.C. has come up with a sweet deal to encourage people to donate blood and platelets during National Blood Donor Month. The company is partnering with the American Red Cross National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region to provide 10,000 coupons redeemable for 1 pound of Dunkin’ packaged ground coffee for all donors in the region.” [Reston Patch]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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The Fairfax County School Board’s proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for Fairfax County Public Schools will not include any major adjustments or immediate big-ticket spending.

Released on Dec. 17, the proposed CIP – which sets short-term priorities for school renovations, capacity enhancements, and other infrastructure projects – remains largely the same as last year’s plan, as the uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic made FCPS officials wary of making any significant new commitments.

A virtual public hearing is planned for 7 p.m. today.

FCPS Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Transportation Services Jeff Platenberg said described the current times as “daunting.”

“We don’t want to do anything that’ll impact our facilities or our staffing, especially with the inoculation coming, the vaccines, and then, next year, [we want to] put ourselves in a position to get back to whatever the new normal might be.”

The ongoing renovation at Langstone Hughes Middle School, which was fully funded by voter-approved bonds in 2015 and 2017, is expected to be completed in $FY2022. Once completed, the school, which first opened in 1980, will include modern amenities and an addition of 53,900 square feet. The project is expected to cost roughly $52 million.

The CIP includes $39 million for a school to manage additional growth expected to be brought on by phase two of the Silver Line. A location has not yet been determined, but the project is fully funded for planning-related costs.

Roughly $42 million is proposed for Herndon Elementary School, 52 million for Hughes Elementary School, and 106 million for the ongoing renovation of and Herndon High School, which will be completed this year.

Because students have mostly been learning virtually, FCPS staff were unable to include data on the capacity utilization of individual facilities for this school year in the CIP. Fluctuating attendance also precluded staff from making five-year projections for future student enrollment.

According to a presentation that Platenberg gave to the school board on Tuesday (Jan. 5), FCPS shed 8,338 students between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. The losses predominately came at the elementary school level, which saw a drop in membership of 7,729 students.

Because FCPS is not adding any new projects with the proposed CIP, the school system will be able to focus on the many needs that it has already identified, Platenberg says.

Overall, the proposed CIP carries a five-year requirement of $1.1 billion. While only $314.8 million of that is currently covered, Platenberg says the unfunded commitment should be addressed by future bond referendums.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the CIP on Feb. 4.

Images via FCPS

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The Virginia Department of Transportation has announced a virtual public information meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 21 regarding plans to replace the Springvale Road bridge over Piney Run with a two-lane bridge in the Great Falls area of Fairfax County. The bridge is currently single-laned and weight restricted. 

VDOT is considering two possible options for the project, according to their press release. One proposed option is to widen the bridge to two lanes with two four-foot-wide shoulders. The other option is to widen the bridge to two lanes separated by raised/splitter island medians with two two-foot-wide shoulders. 

The bridge, averaging 4,700 vehicles per day, according to the release, will also have an increased opening to better prepare for flooding. 

There is no project start date yet, but the schedule will be updated over several months as the project reaches further stages of planning or if additional funding becomes available. The replacement is aimed to improve bridge safety. 

The virtual meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., and feedback will be accepted through Nov.  2. Those interested in attending can register on the VDOT website.

Screengrab via Google Maps

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A virtual public hearing to learn about and discuss a proposed replacement for the bridge on Hunter Mill Road (Route 674) over Colvin Run is set for Wednesday, Sept. 16.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project team is set to begin its presentation at 7 p.m., and team members will be available to answer questions after the presentation of the proposal until 8:30 p.m.

The proposed plan for the bridge – which was built in 1974 – has construction beginning in spring 2021.

Under the plan, the new bridge will replace the one-way, 16-foot-wide lane with a two-way crossing with 11-foot lanes. Plans also include a three-foot-wide grass median.

Additional items within the project include an improved trail crossing south of the bridge and abutments for a new trail bridge over Colvin Run that the county will construct at a later date.

The proposed plan for construction will maintain the existing traffic operation while the new bridge is built. During the first phase of the plan, one lane of the new bridge will be built to the east of the existing bridge. The subsequent phases will shift traffic to the newly constructed bridge while the existing bridge is demolished before the second lane of the new bridge and the median are built.

An inspection of the bridge – which carries an estimated 8,500 vehicles a day – conducted by VDOT in February deemed its condition to be deteriorating rapidly. The condition rating for the substructure of the bridge is currently a three – the condition rating scale is based from zero to nine – which is considered to be in serious condition. The superstructure for the bridge shows significant corrosion of steel girder webs and flanges.

The bridge was strengthened on a temporary basis on Feb. 28 with additional wooden beams added between the bridge’s I-beams. While the load rating of the bridge was reduced from 19 tons to 10, the width of the bridge was also reduced from a 16-foot-wide lane to 10 feet.

Previous improvements to the bridge were made in 2012 and 2016 to maintain the integrity of the structure.

While initial costs were estimated at $3 million in February 2019, the proposed plan is anticipated to cost $5.1 million. The project will be financed with state funding through the State of Good Repair program that will cover $4.7 million of the project, while Fairfax County funding is estimated at $408,000, according to VDOT’s project update in May.

Interested persons may register for the virtual meeting at virginiadot.org/huntermillcolvinrun. Anyone wishing to participate offline, without registering, may call 877-309-2074 (use access code 635-767-879) to listen in.

Any comments following the meeting on Wednesday regarding VDOT’s plan for this project must be submitted by Sept. 28, 2020, on the project website, or by mail to Mr. Vicente Valeza, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, or by emailing [email protected] Emails should reference “Hunter Mill Road over Colvin Run Bridge Replacement” in the subject line.

Photos courtesy VDOT

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Nearly two years following the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of the Reston Midline project, construction has started on the mixed-use development.

As a part of remodeling the 17.5 acres located east of Wiehle Avenue and south of Sunset Hills Road, EYA has broken ground on a portion of the property that will house 115 townhomes. EYA has plans to produce 80 of the new townhomes by early 2021 while the remaining 35 will roll out in a second phase, according to the Washington Business Journal.

The project will eventually encompass 1.8 million square feet of new development across four blocks. It will also be developed in conjunction with the Chevy Chase Land Co. and JBG Smith Properties.

Further development plans include an independent living facility with 127 units, as well as an eight-story building with 325 multifamily units on the northern block of the site. The site plans also feature an eight-story building with 225 multifamily units, and a 14-story office building and further retail space.

The development will also extend to two major road improvements. Reston Station Boulevard will be extended from Wiehle Avenue to Michael Faraday Drive, and new lanes will be constructed Michael Faraday along the front of the development.

Additional construction will provide a new crosswalk and pedestrian signals at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Michael Faraday Drive to provide a connection to the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. A high-visibility crosswalk at the intersection of Reston Station Boulevard and Wiehle Avenue will facilitate a pedestrian connection to the Silver Line Metro station.

The developers also will dedicate 29% of the site as open space, which will include dog parks, play areas for children and various public amenities.

No timetable has been set for the development of the remainder of the project.

The site originally was developed with four low-rise office buildings and surface parking that were constructed from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s.

Photos by Jay Westcott

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As Fairfax County Public Schools students are learning virtually during the 2020-2021 academic year, renovations are moving forward at Herndon High School.

The renovation’s second phase was mostly completed during the summer, according to Herndon High School assistant principal Jim Hannon. The school’s main gym was expanded by roughly a third, while the renovation of the auxiliary gym was completed alongside the construction of new locker rooms, a weight room and art rooms.

“To start this school year, if we weren’t in the virtual world we are in right now, we’d have students in the new areas that were completed in phase two,” Hannon said. “Those areas include both upstairs and downstairs, first floor and second floor, the completion of the wings that were for math, ESOL, social studies and English.”

Very few outstanding items remain from phase two of the renovation before its final completion. Among these is the installation of the main gym’s new bleachers, due to supply line issues caused by some vendors temporarily shutting down as a result of COVID-19.

Despite a few hang-ups in the supply chain, the renovation process has progressed into phase three. This includes an opportunity to begin work early on the student’s dining portion of the cafeteria that otherwise would have been relegated to weekend and evening work during phase four due to the presence of students in the halls. The renovation of the kitchens for the cafeteria, however, will be included in phase four of the renovation process.

The completion of the second phase follows the introduction of a new wing to the back and front of the building, as well as a new library, main office, and administrative and counseling office. The first phase, which was completed in the fall of 2019, also included a new entrance, 65 classrooms, a gourmet foods room, science labs and additional classroom spaces.

The progress of the renovation has also allowed the school to move approximately 60-65 school personnel from outdoor trailers into the freshly renovated or constructed spaces, according to Hannon.

Following the removal of the trailers, the renovation process will begin on the parking lots as well as the school’s tennis courts as a part of phase three.

Other plans during this phase include a new wrestling and gymnastics room and renovating the school’s performing arts area, which includes the auditorium, and rooms for the orchestra, band and chorus.

Phase three will take place during the majority of this school year, Hannon said. The exact completion date of the project has not yet been determined.

The final phase of the project will include renovating the existing cafeteria to feature a food court design, as well as updates to the tennis courts, the stadium press box and concession stands.

As part of the project, the school will undergo a complete renovation with new plumbing, HVAC, fire alarm and protection systems. Also, the campus will include a new bus loop, more parking, bike racks and improved stormwater management. The renovation project in total includes 138,558 square feet of additions and modifications to expand the school to 431,000 square feet, according to the webpage for Grunley Construction Company, Inc.

“Hopefully when we move back in the building, we’ll have very few classes still outside in the trailers. And the majority of those are going to start being removed in September and October,” Hannon said.

Photo via Jim Hannon

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