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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Supervisors approve gym for Upper Bailey's

Plans for the gym at Bailey's Upper.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved amended proffers for a gym and outdoor play area at Bailey’s Upper Elementary School. The facility won’t be built until next summer, however.

Among other things, the proffers address the amount of setback at the front of the property and modify the transitional screening. The new 6,200-square foot building would be constructed on the existing parking lot.

Bailey’s Upper serves Bailey’s students in grades 3-5 in a former office building on Leesburg Pike in Seven Corners. It opened in September 2014.

The office building conversion had to be done right away because Bailey’s was facing severe overcrowding with the potential for 1,500 students. At that point, it was decided that it was more important to get the classrooms built right away and build a gym later, said Mason Supervisor Penny Gross during the public hearing June 23.

It’s the county’s first urban-style school. “There is some concern in the county that the school system does not have real template for urban-style schools. We need to figure that out quickly,” Gross said.

Only one resident spoke at the hearing. Suzy Wells, speaking on behalf of the Sleepy Hollow Manor Civic Association, said now that other urban schools are being proposed, Fairfax County Public Schools needs to come up with standards for them to ensure that “parity exists across the county.”

All schools should have trees and gardens, Wells said, because studies have shown that “students exposed to greenery at schools have better cognitive development.”


  1. " “students exposed to greenery at schools have better cognitive development.” I'd prefer the students to develop enough cognition to question the accuracy of junk science like this. There are plenty of people in New York City who seem to get along just fine without much "greenery".

    1. Here's some emprical evidence that can be used for your scientific study:

      1. Seven Corners is not NYC.
      2. The Willston school site is green
      3. Penny Gross has a all-too-cozy relationship with high-density housing developers.

  2. We should have added more schools before we added more housing in that area.

    1. What housing? This is a result of too many new comers not controlling their sexual urges. Penny cannot be blamed for their poor lack of family planning.

    2. That is only a small part of it. Penny does not have code compliance enforce current FXCO laws. We have three to four families living in 2 bedroom apartments and single family homes.

    3. You are incorrect, it is not Code Compliance it is Code Complacency.

      When they show up at a property that has been reported as multi-occupancy they ask the folks residing in the house; (I will use a hypothetical scenario): "Your names are Mork and Mindy, are you related? Yes we are husband and wife, I am Mork from the planet Ork and Mindy, translated from Margarita is from El Salvador. Are these ten little ones your children? Oh yes they are Orkites that were born on the planet Ork. And these other folks living the house, the one with funny ears and the other with the nose on the back of their head? They are from the planet Ziptone, and they are my brother and my brother nymph." Code Complacency officer turns around to his partner and says, that is good enough for me. Let's close the case.

      And there you have it on planet Mason.

  3. YEAH! Thank you Penny Gross for causing this nightmare!

  4. Thank you Suzy for explaining to the BoS that we need standards for urban schools, and parity of schools. The BoS has no idea how to do that, because that's the FCPS's responsibility but Penny won't let the FCPS do their job. She has to control everything. And I don't understand why they can't build the gym this summer? What about the kids who come in the fall why do they have to go another year and not have gym. It's been almost three years with nothing. It does make a difference in a child's mind and body why if they can't play in a gym or on a playground.

    1. Building a gym--or any major construction--doesn't happen over night, and even though FCPS is a large system, they don't have unlimited resources. There are other, more urgent building, renovation, and maintenance tasks that have been on the to-do list for a long time. Bailey's is lucky that they won't have to wait even longer.

  5. The backstory of Bailey's Upper.

    There were far less expensive and superior locations for this school. Penny rejected them all and overspent taxpayer dollars to satisfy HER agenda for HER dream: Penny's Palace, an East County Government Center that she said would draw millenials to 7 Corners (as if they would even need those services).

    Instead she removed all human services from the office building where Bailey's Upper now resides. The human services were moved to Annandale. The vacated building went into foreclosure ( I feel for the owner).

    Supervisor Gross jumped on the chance to acquire the foreclosed building for a school. The purchase and renovation cost $20,000,000. Now another building is underway at Baileys at more cost to taxpayers. None of this would have been necessary had she approved either of the other locations. Her personal agenda always prevails.

    Supervisor Gross spent $895,000 on plans for her East County Government Center at the Willston School site that is not going to be built (think of all the teacher and policemen salaries that would have covered). Why? Because it is an election year and the surrounding communities put pressure on Gross for the land to be a school to alleviate overcrowding. She is talking about sharing the land with FCPS. FCPS requested the Willston site be returned to the school board. And the beat goes on......

    Gross does what she wants, runs up the bills and doesn't consult the communities. Her negotiations are done in secrecy at full speed ahead. Citizens have to access the Freedom of Information Act docs to find out what is going on.

    This is an election year, so she is backing down and acquiescing some, but she has wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last 20 years. There are more examples, too numerous to post. Mason District has little to show for our Supervisor's spendthrift ways, other than an expensive patchwork planning at unnecessarily huge cost and futuristic revitalization plans that jack up the density to huge numbers that increase the burdens on taxpayer dollars, schools, roads, and social services. Penny's agenda defies logic.

    1. Hey - I am happy you took four hours out of your day to put together a slanderous and untrutful account of what happened.

      Truth be told, a beautiful school was constructed to relieve overcrowding, and in record time.

      I am sure you would blame our good Supervisor for the humidity and rain, as well!

      Find another hobby, Mr. or Mrs. Negativity. Penny is here to stay! And we are all better for it.

    2. This diatribe against Penny is nothing more than a poorly drafted word-salad of lies of petty political hot air. Please get a hobby.

    3. To Anons 2:47 and 3:00 p.m.

      How about doing your own homework. Too lazy? You just go along with the twisted tales that Penny and her staff spew?. Shame on you.

      I follow the issues so writing the facts didn't take much time at all. You would be better informed if you did the same.

    4. Which options would have been cheaper than Bailey's upper?

      Please share your facts.

      And as you are posting "facts" what exactly is Penny's "dream."

    5. No, you ask the supervisor and school board rep about the options available.

  6. "And I don't understand why they can't build the gym this summer? "... They probably need to opt for adding trailers first to accommodate the anticipated over-enrollment

  7. A few facts: Penny is responsible for moving the County services previously located at 7 Corners to Annandale.

    Fact: the Baileys/ 7 Corners corridor is one of the most densely populated and poorest areas in the County. The services were originally located at the current Upper Baileys in order to be accessible to the near by population who needed them.

    Fact: The School Board and community have informally and formally requested the return of the Wilston School site to the FCPS for over 3 years.
    Penny refused to consider the request. Now, in light of adverse publicity and an election year, she is reconsidering. An innovative community school encompassing the existing programs and preserving the existing field could be a reality if Penny had not resisted every effort to return the property Due to its deteriorating condition, the building is schedule for demolition in 2 years.

    As to Upper Baileys,in addition to the cost of purchasing, renovating and expanding the building is the increased transportation cost and the fact that the building will be overcrowded in 2-3 years if not sooner.

    So yes, there were cheaper and better options to Upper Baileys More important, there were better options for the children

  8. You still haven't given the options. What were the specific options that were cheaper than Baileys Upper School?

    You haven't listed one.

    1. A partnership between the Wilson Library and Bailey's Elementary was proposed, but Penny wanted to build a one story stand alone library. There is a soccer field and a playground there. Plus 70% of the children walked to school then. School Board Rep. Sandy Evans really liked and wanted that plan realized, but Penny said no to that plan.

      A 2011 study done by FFX County says that a brand new elementary school could have been built at the Willston site for $12,000,000. Penny steadfastly refused to give the Willston School back to FCPS. Since 2013, Penny spent $895,000 on plans for her palace, the East County Government Center until the community started raising a ruckus demanding she return the school to FCPS. Now (election year) she is compromising.

      Her ECGC plan was to return the human services from Annandale (the heck with all the money spent moving everyone from Annandale and renovating that building) to her ECGC Palace, which was to be completed by 2018.

      So, as you can see, rather than two beautiful cost-efficient options, Penny spent money moving human services to Annandale and renovating that building. Then she turned around and bought the building she literally forced into foreclosure and put the students in an office building with no playground, no assembly hall and no gymnasium (which is a must-have according to state law). And, instead of walking to school we are spending money busing the children and building additional buildings. $20,000,000 and growing.

      LOL. Penny the spendthrift. This is how your Supervisor so wisely spends taxpayer money.

  9. First of all, I'm surprised that a cheaper option is more important to you than a better one.

    The ongoing and complete cost of Upper Baileys, including busing, extra staff, maintenance,etc. hasn't been calculated.

    Building a new school building on County owned property which would have a gym, recreation and assembly space would be preferable at any price.

    I believe that here are existing plans for a 5 story school building, parking and a field on the Wilston site.
    The existing structure needs to be demolished within a certain time frame. That cost would occur under any condition.

    Would constructing a new school be cheaper than retrofitting an older, existing office building including all the ancillary costs which will soon be overcrowded? I don't know. I would hazard a guess that there would not be a great difference in cost, yet a great difference in the experience of the children attending school there.

    Another definitely less expensive option was replacing, or adding a school component, to the Woodrow Wilson Library. That suggestion didn't get off the ground.