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Mulfords Share Plans for New Schools

For more than three decades, the Mulford family has run a preschool and riding school on its Centreville property. But since a developer will soon begin building townhouses on that land, Preston and Beverly Mulford plan to move their schools to another spot in town.

And as attorney Keith Martin shared their plans at Tuesday night's meeting of the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use Committee, he praised the Mulfords' long years of hard work.

"Beverley Mulford has nurtured and cared for many of the children of Centreville," he said. "It's a great school and a really warm environment."

The new location is across from Centreville Baptist Church, on the south side of Route 29, backing up to Gate Post Estates. It's 7 1/2 acres, and the Mulfords need county approval for a special-exception permit for a nursery school there.

It's pasture land on which the previous owners had horses, and that's perfect for the Mulfords, who also plan to re-locate their riding school there. They'll build a barn and riding rink for their seven horses.

"They'll also seek a special permit for the barn, and it'll go to the BZA [Board of Zoning Appeals]," said Martin. "Harry [the Mulfords' son] and Beverley will teach riding to up to 20 students on Saturday and up to 10 on Sunday — but that's a separate [permit] application."

The Mulfords will also renovate and occupy an existing home there, said Martin, so someone will be on site at all times to maintain the property. As for the school, it will serve 150 students in a building of about 6,000 square feet.

"The nursery school will look like a large house, so it'll be [welcoming in appearance] to little children," said Martin. "Classes will be Monday through Friday, with up to 80 students in the morning session and about 60 in the afternoon session. And the Mulfords plan to continue their summer camp, too."

The property will have 60 percent open space and will be bordered on one side by the Eden Korean Presbyterian Church (which is currently doing fund-raising so it may eventually build there). There'll be full access off Route 29, as well as interparcel access between the school and the church — in case the entrance from Route 29 is someday closed.

Martin said the Mulfords will also have to provide a right-turn lane coming in from Route 29 so, in essence, "there'll be a continuous right-turn lane there, between the school and the church."

The school application goes before the county Planning Commission on April 23; it's then slated for the county Board of Supervisors on May 5. After Tuesday's meeting, Harry Mulford said his parents fully intend to have their new preschool open by September.