Bill Bradley and Camillo Bearman, of the Stantec architectural and design firm, offered a glimpse Thursday night of what southern Fauquier residents can expect Cedar Lee Middle School to look like after its renovation and expansion. The project will add capacity for 300 to 350 students to the Bealeton school, and is expected to be finished in time for the start of school in 2022.
The webinar was presented via Zoom. Bradley provided details and answered questions in English. Camillo provided the same in Spanish.
Bradley shared some floor plans and schematic drawings of the design plans so far. The diagrams showed a very different Cedar Lee footprint, especially in the front of the middle school.
For instance, the new design would replace the current inefficient bus loop with a separate pick-up/drop off loop and visitors parking lot, and a more spacious bus loop that is big enough to accommodate 16 buses.
The new layout was made possible when the school division purchased property in front of the school with the expansion in mind.
Another big change previewed Thursday is a one-story, 12-classroom addition at the front of the school. The classrooms in this section would open into a courtyard that could be used for myriad purposes.
The front of the building would also see a new, secure entrance that would lead into an expanded administration area.
An auxiliary gymnasium at the back of the building, near the main gymnasium would accommodate the increased student body. An expansion of the cafeteria area will be able to serve one full grade level at a time and expand room for serving lines and food storage.
Adequate custodial/utility and teacher support areas will be included as well, said Bradley.
Design work on the $12 million construction project began in June, but was somewhat hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bradley said, though, that the project completion date is still intact. The $12 million figure does not include furniture, technology and other costs that will be required; the total cost is estimated to be closer to $17 million.
Final design plans will be presented to the school board in January of 2021, Bradley said. Bids will be solicited in February and March and construction will begin when school lets out in the spring. Construction will continue through the school year into the next summer.
A selection of questions from the Zoom audience
Q: Will there be a turn lane off U.S. 17?
Bradley said that although discussions have been held with the Virginia Department of Transportation, a turn lane may not be strictly necessary and would be very expensive. Bradley said, “I’d rather put that money into classrooms.”
Q: Can the new classrooms exit into the courtyard?
Yes, that is the current plan, said Bradley.
Q: Are there any pictures of proposed classrooms?
The design firm has not reached that level of detail yet.
Q: What will the new science classrooms look like?
Bradley said he hasn’t met with science teachers yet about what their needs are. “We want to make sure we meet present and future needs.”
A recording of Thursday’s presentation is now available at https://www.fcps1.org/live under “FCPS events.”
About Cedar Lee
Cedar Lee Middle School is a grade six through eight public school and one of five middle schools in Fauquier County. The main building was designed and constructed for a junior high school in 1973. The current structure, which includes the 1973 building and two additions completed in 1998, houses 649 students and 77 staff members.
The facilities at Cedar Lee currently consist of 49 classrooms, a cafeteria, gymnasium, library, a technology education center, an agriculture science laboratory and two computer labs. The building totals 105,062 square feet and is of single-story brick and block construction.
Correction: This version corrects the story height of the new classroom addition. It will be a one-story addition.