More coordination is needed between the community and Fairfax County Schools officials to determine if the sports fields at can be used as the school is renovated, school officials said Wednesday.
Speaking before parents and local residents gathered at the school, Kevin Sneed, county schools director of facilities and planning, encouraged that a representative from the Fort Hunt Youth Athletic Association coordinate with Project Coordinator Steve Nicholson on how to best use the fields.
School board member Dan Storck, the Mount Vernon District representative, said both gyms at Carl Sandburg should be open for community use through next spring. The following school years, one gym will be open.
“We know that there's not enough gyms for all the teams, so there will be a challenge there,” Storck said.
Nicholson stressed that school officials are being more than welcoming to community members who want to continue to use school facilities.
“This is not what we normally do, allowing access during the renovations,” he said.
The $44 million renovation is scheduled to be put to bid in October. This fall, students will begin rotating through classrooms unaffected by the phased construction and through 24 mobile classrooms arranged in six clusters of four classrooms each. The mobile classrooms will have complete heating and cooling systems but no restrooms.
Sneed said that the school, currently 263,000 square feet, will see a 7,000-square foot addition that will serve as the new administrative offices. Plans also include making classrooms larger.
The contractor will be required to work two shifts per day, six days per week, as necessary, to complete the work on time. The contractor's main compound, for office trailers, storage and equipment, will be located between the artificial turf field and the softball field, with additional staging in other areas around the school. A 6-foot chain-link fence will surround the work areas.
Some work will not be allowed while students are on the property, such as classroom wall demolition, welding or using a jackhammer, Sneed said. During the regular weekday, work will not be done in the corridors, minimizing student contact with construction activity. Most of the work will happen at night, he said.
Work to common areas such as the cafeteria and gym will be completed during the summer months, Sneed said. Contractors will respect the county noise ordinance with regard to loud construction activity at night.
“It's not going to be as bad for you guys who live around here, because most of the work is interior,” Sneed said.
Staff will be on site anytime contractors are at the school. Also, all contractors are pre-qualified and screened for criminal backgrounds. All contractors must wear identification.
Also, Sneed said, a safety inspector will perform regular air quality tests at the school. Any dust created by construction activities will be cleaned from hallways and common areas before children arrive at school for the day. An outside expert will be brought in to remove any asbestos found.
Carl Sandburg Principal Terrence Yarborough said the school will work to create seamless transitions and student safety. “I'm hoping what's on paper can happen sooner,” he said.
“There's never been a renovation like this on old Fort Hunt High School, now Carl Sandburg,” Storck said. “... So this will be a total renovation, and we're all going to be really pleased with the outcome when it's done.”