Pictures Tell the Story: City Council is Creating an Asphalt, Brick and Mortar “Gulch” for Our School Kids

  • High-Rise Apartments and Offices Will “Corral” the School Kids

  • Another Route 66 Lane Will Further “Girdle” the Campus

  • Plenty of Glass, Bricks and Asphalt—but Little Green Space

  • The Multi-Story GMHS and MEH Would Be Right at Home in Manhattan 

By Mark Kaye and Sam Mabry

The Council’s decision to build a new high school in combination with its decision to allow developers to build high-rises next to the high school and middle school will forever change the character of the city and the education of our children.  

There is no way we will be the “Little City” in the years to come, with a small school system dedicated to the whole child—surrendering  the immense value provided by small schools and a neighborhood community.

With the Council and their Developer friends in lock step, we have become the “Little Copy-Cat City,”  a hollow version of Ballston and Tyson’s Corner.

The City Council has no concept of the fact that the “Little City” differentiates itself from these dense behemoths by keeping its small town charm inside the beltway.  Instead, the Council has willingly surrendered to greedy developers who have no interest in the long term financial and neighborhood well-being of the city.

The planned development of the GMHS 10 acres is all very high density.  We will be just like Arlington and Alexandria in that the “Little City” will have a middle and high schools wedged densely between Route 66 and high-rise apartments and offices.

NOTE: The composite picture of the new George Mason High School in front of a 15 story apartment building is based on the following: On the George Mason site, the Planning Commission moved to change the Comprehensive Plan, in the words of one Commissioner, “to provide a limit on the lower end of the FAR (density and height) not the higher one.”  

The Council has successfully hit a “triple”–that is, there will be little green space, other than the playing fields, heavy traffic, and inadequate parking space for staff and students. 

In addition, VDOT has approval to build an elevated fly-way road from east bound Route 66 to WFC Metro.  This extention, due to open in 2020, will further impact MEH/GHMS as it will be next to the school playing fields.

The Schools are shown in the upper left hand corner of the picture, divided off from the city and isolated between Route 66 and thousands of new residents and their buildings. Is this what you expected?  Is this where you want your children to be?  This illustration is from the Rushmark team proposal. It, along with another competitor’s submission, can be found on the city’s website.

If the Council had been forthright and candid with the citizens, it could have asked us for an honest tax rate to support a new high school instead of engaging in a development dance in which only they know the steps.

What is going on that would drive the Council to undertake this kind of project?

It has little do to do with education.

Look at the drawings and schematics and ask yourselves: Is this what I envision for my children—for our children?

Why is the Council and School Board doing this?

 

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