Fairfax City voters will decide Tuesday whether to approve $86.8 million in bonds to renovate and expand two of the city's four schools.
School officials say face-lifts are needed at Lanier Middle School and Fairfax High School to accommodate a growing student population, provide space and infrastructure for new technology and meet the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Under the proposed renovations, both schools would get new roofs, windows, lights and heating and air conditioning systems. The electrical wiring would be upgraded to better handle computers, servers and printers.
School Board Chairman Janice Miller said the renovations would include more science rooms for high school students and larger art rooms for middle school students. After the expansion, a dozen trailers at Lanier and six at Fairfax High School would no longer be needed, she said.
"There's no doubt that the classroom atmosphere would be greatly improved in both buildings," Miller said. "We've never had a complete upgrade to either one of the schools."
Fairfax City's four schools serve about 2,600 students. The city has a contract with Fairfax County to operate the schools.
If the ballot question is approved, $54 million will go toward the renovation at Fairfax High School, the city's sole high school. School officials want to add 86,500 square feet, increasing the size of classrooms in the process.
The proposed renovations to the high school, which opened in 1972, also include a new library and media center and a new recital hall in the school's music wing. Eighty-eight parking spaces would also be added.
Under the $32 million plan for Lanier, 70,000 square feet of space would be added at the 44-year-old middle school. Larger science labs and art rooms would be built, and a new fire alarm and sprinkler system would be added. In addition, the school's front entrance would be moved from Bevan Drive to Jermantown Road.
If the $86 million proposal fails, school officials said the system would have to invest $15 million to $21 million over the next five years for immediate fixes to keep the schools running. Those renovations would include replacing roofs and upgrading electrical systems.
If voters approve the measure, construction at both schools is scheduled to begin in the spring. The work at Lanier is scheduled to be completed in September 2007, and the construction at Fairfax High would wrap up around November 2008. Students would not be displaced during renovations.