In an effort to spread adult education to southern Fairfax County, school officials are considering a plan to open a massive full-time basic education and community center in the former Bryant Intermediate School, located south of Alexandria.
The proposed center would be the second-largest adult education facility in the county. The largest program opened in 1982 at the former Pimmit Hills Elementary School, near Tysons Corner. It currently serves 5,000 full- and part-time students a year.
School Board Chairman Mary E. Collier said school officials are also considering a plan to house a program for socially maladjusted students and a child care center in the Bryant facility. She said final locations for the two programs have not yet been decided.
Board member Olivia H. Michener, who represents the Mount Vernon district, said the proposed adult school at Bryant would be geared to serve residents in the southern section of the county.
"If the board approves it, I think the center will offer more programs and surpass Pimmit Hills," Michener said.
At its 8 o'clock meeting tonight, School Board members will decide whether the Bryant facility at 2709 Popkins La., Alexandria, should remain open or declared surplus to the school system's needs. Only if the board votes to retain the building will its members consider the plan to open the big adult education center at Bryant.
The School Board closed the intermediate school in June because of declining student enrollment. The building is currently being used as temporary quarters for a 300-student adult education center. The intermediate school students now attend Carl Sandburg Intermediate, which is located in the former Fort Hunt High School building.
The school system currently operates small evening adult-education programs in various public schools. Michener said the proposed expanded Bryant center would remain open during both day and evening hours.
"This makes adult education programs available to people whose schedule doesn't permit them to take advantage of the programs now," Michener said.
Kenneth E. Plum, director of adult and community education in the school system, said the Pimmit Hills program was well received by residents in the northern section of the county when it opened three years ago.
Michener said she has not heard any objections from area residents about using the Bryant building for the education program. "I assume the community will be pleased. . . . The building will be for school and community use," she added.
Plum, who represents Virginia's 36th district in the General Assembly, said many of the adult courses now offered at Pimmit Hills would be incorporated into the proposed curriculum for Bryant.
Those classes would include a high school completion course for adults over 17 years of age; a basic education learning center for persons with below eighth-grade reading and writing skills; several home economics and art classes; some basic office-skills courses, and a parent-child development program.
Final action on whether the former Bryant facility will be retained as a school system building is scheduled for the board's Oct. 24 meeting.