News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, October 28, 2016

Behold Our Hellish Transit-Oriented Future: High-Rise Schools (Updated)

High Rise Schools

As Reston continues its rapid transition into a transit-oriented hellscape center, we're seeing the county begin to grapple with the inevitable consequences of rapid, quasi-urban development. What's that, are they fast-tracking the much-needed Soapstone bridge across the Toll Road or the pedestrian overpass over Wiehle? No, silly rabbits, that would be crazy! Instead, the county is weighing the possibility of sticking new schools in high-rises, where they won't take up nearly as much (taxable) real estate. Give us some utterly baffling blockquote, BFFs at the Annandale Va Blog:

The Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing Nov. 1 on a new policy to allow the development of “urban” or “vertical” schools in high-density areas or on parcels of limited size.
Because "urban school" has such positive connotations in education circles.
The policy change would also amend the Comprehensive Plan to allow the “co-location of schools with other public uses, such as a library or a recreational center,” and the “co-location of different levels of education and other types of programs in one structure.” The co-located entities would then be able to share facilities such as the cafeteria, gym, or auditorium.

In addition, the policy would permit the adaptive reuse of buildings, such as an office or commercial building, to be used for schools, early childhood education programs, and distance learning.

Too bad that earlier efforts to save the Marcel Breuer-designed API building fell flat. It would have been a perfect architectural fit for Terraset II: Electric Boogaloo.
The policy is aimed at “schools in activity centers where there is no land to build traditional schools,” said David Stinson, of the Facilities Planning Branch in the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ). Activity centers include Bailey’s Crossroads, Seven Corners, Tysons, Reston, and the Route 1 corridor.
Our BFFs at Reston 2020 wonder if this means we'll see a new county school in the fancy new Town Center North governmental complex. We've known for some time that the added development will push existing schools to the limit. But we have more questions than answers. For example:

• Will North Reston's fancy astronaut schools (Aldrin and Armstrong) insist on being on the top floors?

• Will students have access to amenities like the cutting-edge 90s cybercafes in Reston's newest mauvescraper?

• If the county does put a school in the same building as the library, will they keep the kids away from the frotteurs who cram the book sales?

• Will PE be replaced by something equally beneficial from a cardiovascular standpoint, like trying to cross Wiehle Avenue?

• If schools are sharing facilities including cafeteria space with "other types of programs," does that mean kids will get access to some of Reston's finest midscale chain dining?

• If schools share space with some of our trendily-named developments, does that mean they'll stop teaching kids vowels?

All in all, this sounds like a sensible proposal with no unintended consequences. We can't wait to send Junior off to SCHL, the end.

Update: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the proposal.


  1. I think Fairfax should use the empty Champs bar in Plaza America and use that as a school during the day, then go back to being a bar at night.

    This is all reminding me of the piece that John Oliver did on Charter schools....

    Not quite the same -- but certainly has the same stench.

  2. Hell-bent on turning Reston into a second Crystal City.


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