The school bond referendum passed on November 7 with 63.6 percent of voters authorizing the issuance of up to $120 million in bonds to pay for a new high school. The next steps in the projects include the schools planning for design and the City government marketing up to 10 acres of campus for economic development to help pay for the new school.
Both the school design and an economic development agreement are scheduled to be completed in spring 2019. The design process will include multiple opportunities for public input and comment. The schedule currently calls for the new high school to begin construction in 2019, and open in summer 2021. The commercial development on up to 10 acres of the campus would commence after the new school is open.
Over the past four years, the City Council and School Board have taken an extensive look at the possibilities, considering options for a new school that include full gut renovation and addition; partial renovation and addition; phased building over 10 years; and new building.
The City of Falls Church government conducted an economic feasibility study where consultants estimated that as much as $45 million could be earned by the City’s long-term lease or sale of the 10 acres.
Because of limited space on the site, the new school would need to be built before the existing building can be taken down for commercial development. As a result, the City will need to issue bonds for the full cost of the school before the commercial development revenue from the sale or lease of the property is available.