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ArlingtonEducationMcLean group to mull Madeira upgrade proposal

McLean group to mull Madeira upgrade proposal

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The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board on April 7 will ponder a resolution supporting Madeira School’s plans for multiple upgrades at its 375-acre McLean campus.

Madeira School, an all-girls private high school located at 8328 Georgetown Pike in McLean, is seeking to amend a 1983 special exception granted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in order to effect a host of long-term capital improvements.

Madeira officials wish to remove an existing science building and replace it on the same spot with a three-level building for science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) facility. The new structure would have Georgian architecture that matches the rest of the campus.

School officials also would like to replace horse stables, a riding arena and exercise area, all of which are in poor condition, with single-story structures that fulfill the same purposes.


In order to boost security at the school by having more adults on campus full-time, Madeira officials are asking the county’s permission to raze an existing faculty residence and health center and replace them in the same locations with 14 stacked, four-level, two-bedroom townhouses for staff and faculty members.

Although the units would be 35 to 40 feet tall, they would be located on hillsides and have one story below-grade. None of the townhouses would be visible from Georgetown Pike, and the development would meet county workforce-housing standards, MCA’s resolution read.

The STEAM building is Madeira’s top priority in the proposal the townhouses come second, MCA leaders said.

Madeira also is applying to remove a two-story, 2,000-square-foot, single-family residence for faculty on the campus and replace it on the same spot with a two-story single-family house of up to 5,000 square feet that also would be used by faculty. As with the existing house, the new one will be visible from Georgetown Pike.

County health officials already have given their support to the school’s plan to install septic drain-fields to handle wastewater and sewage from the proposed larger single-family home and stables, the resolution read. County staff also have accepted Madeira’s proposal to create a 100-foot-wide tree-protection area along Georgetown Pike.

Family members living in the proposed new faculty and staff housing would produce an estimated 65 extra vehicle trips on weekdays on Georgetown Pike and 114 on Saturdays, according to Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) calculations. Madeira officials say some of those trips would be offset if fewer staff and faculty members needed to commute.

FCDOT is not requiring a traffic-impact study for Madeira’s proposals, but agency officials desire to have the school align its entrance will Bellview Road across Georgetown Pike and extend the right-turn lane at the entrance.

Madeira’s leaders counter that moving the school’s entrance from the top of a steep hill to a spot somewhat downhill would create a safety hazard, MCA’s resolution read.

Unlike many MCA resolutions, which often have several pages’ worth of detailed background information and multiple “be it resolved” clauses with copious caveats, the two-page resolution on Madeira’s proposal ends merely with a statement supporting the application.

County officials as of April 5 had not posted a staff report for Madeira’s proposal, which is slated for a Planning Commission public hearing April 28. The Board of Supervisors will have the final say, but that public hearing has yet to be set.

Madeira is located on 375 acres overlooking the Potomac River. Its enrollment limit is 338 students and the school currently has 313, 160 of whom are boarders and the remainder day students. The school also has 44 faculty members and 97 staff, according to MCA’s resolution.

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