|A rendering of a renovated Woodrow Wilson Library.|
The Fairfax County Department of Public Works (DPW) is proceeding with plans to expand the Woodrow Wilson Library in Bailey’s Crossroads after discussions about creating a combined school/library facility to resolve overcrowding at Bailey’s Elementary School failed to get anywhere.
Joan Beacham of the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services described the renovation plans at the Oct. 23 meeting of the Mason District Land Use Committee.
An additional 2,130 square feet would be added to the 12,300-square foot library to accommodate more space for quiet studying, 24 computers for public use, and a large meeting room that could stay open after hours. The interior layout would be improved, and the entrance would be moved to the corner facing Knollwood Drive and the parking lot. The collection of reading materials would be slightly reduced.
The Wilson Library is next door to Bailey’s Elementary School. Several months ago, a group of Bailey’s parents suggested using the library renovation to help alleviate severe overcrowding at the school by moving some classrooms to the library building. Bailey’s is way over its capacity of 1,049 students. Current enrollment is 1,321, and it’s expected to reach 1,559 by 2016.
Bailey’s PTA members, Fairfax County library officials, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), and Mason Supervisor Penny Gross were involved in discussions on the proposal, which also included the idea of creating a “community school” incorporating various community agencies into the facility, as well.
FCPS Chief Operating Officer Dean Tistadt even had his staff draw up plans showing what a combined school/library could look like, and FCPS offered to fund the entire cost of the project except for the library furnishings. Under that plan, the library would continue to be owned by the Board of Supervisors, and FCPS would acquire nearby parkland from the Fairfax County Park Authority.
According to Bailey’s parent Suzie Phipps, “We were ultimately told that it was too far along for this to be done. We were also told (before any plans were drawn up by FCPS) that there were too many zoning barriers and that the project wouldn’t be possible.”
The library renovation is funded by a library bond passed in 2004, and the bond funds have to be committed, with construction started, by November 2014.
|Student art is displayed on the exterior walls of Bailey's Elementary School.|