Burke Faces Renovations, Rehabilitation

Burke Faces Renovations, Rehabilitation

Local schools, lakes undergoing makeovers.

Lake Braddock, Woodson Renovations

Lake Braddock Secondary School is currently in the second year of its three-year renovation project. The high school portion of the school is near completion, with only the music and foreign language departments left for renovation. The middle school section of the school is in the process of its renovation, and Associate Principal Dave Thomas said the entire project has turned out to be better than they had hoped it would be. Construction is scheduled to wrap up by next summer.

Woodson High School’s renovation project bid came in $20 million over budget, so the contract will be re-bid in September. A groundbreaking ceremony took place in June, even though the actual construction will not begin until October. School board members assure the 2009 completion date will not be affected, even though the project will begin at least three months later than scheduled.

Lake Royal Rehabilitation

The Lake Royal dam and auxiliary spillway are set for rehabilitation after an evaluation revealed it would not hold in the event of a severe storm. The type of storm that would cause a dam breach resulting in an overflow into the spillway is extremely rare, even more so than what conservationists call a 100-year storm, said Diane Hoffman, an administrator at the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. To be safe, and to meet state and federal regulations, articulated concrete blocks will harden the spillway to reinforce the permeable soils that currently exist there. Earthen training dikes will also be constructed, and the spillway’s path will be realigned to protect residents around the area, specifically residents in a development of town homes that lay directly in the spillway’s path. The planning of the project is still in the development stages and should be complete by fall 2006. Once the blue prints are official, designs for trails around the lake will be decided by neighbors and county officials. Construction can begin as early as the fall, according to state officials working on the project’s design.

Animal Control

Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) conducted a spring community meeting on animals. At least 100 residents heard about the services the county provides with regard to animal rescue and control. Since several residents expressed their concern for whom to call about wild animal complaints or problems, Bulova has asked Gerry Connolly, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, to conduct a further review of the procedures in place for responding to such calls, since there is often a miscommunication between the county and the private sector, leaving residents as middlemen with nowhere to turn. Bulova said she believes more animal control services needs more staff, since the thinly spread staff needs to be able to respond more promptly in a county as large as Fairfax, she said.

VRE Garage

Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) convened a citizens' task force in 2003 to make recommendations on operation, design and pedestrian access to the new Burke Centre Virginia Railway Express Station parking garage. The end result was a parking area with 1,550 total spaces: 1,300 in the garage and 250 outside it. Residents have voiced concern over the size and sight of the garage, complaining it is too large and obstructive. In addition to the five level structure, the walking and biking access improvements to the station will be made. The groundbreaking ceremony for the garage is July 29, 2006.

Burke Centre Library

The Burke Centre Library groundbreaking ceremony, which took place in July 2006, is the new library’s first sign of life since voters passed a $52.5 million bond in 2004. The bond was the first step in the construction of two branches and renovations to many others. The Burke Centre branch, near the intersection of the Fairfax County Parkway and Freds Oak Road, is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2008. Branch locations are decided upon by projections of demand and population growth. The Burke Centre branch sits near the border of the Braddock and Springfield district borders, both of which are expected to see significant population increases by 2020. Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock) created a task force this year to brainstorm ideas for a time capsule. The capsule will be planted in front of the library when it opens, and will be unearthed 30 years later. Bulova will conduct periodic public meetings to discuss the contents of the capsule throughout the construction process.

Lake Accotink Dredging Underway

In June 2006, a year-long endeavor to dredge several thousand cubic feet of silt from the bottom of Lake Accotink began, as a large boat that had been floating in the marina began the process of vacuuming a decade’s worth of dirt out of the lake to be deposited in a rock quarry three miles away.

The lake, originally built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1918 as a water supply for Fort Belvoir, covered over 110 acres in the beginning. Now the lake spreads across 55 acres and features a small island, created by the silt that feeds into the lake as a result of the silt carried by Accotink Creek.

Chester, Pa.-based Mobile Dredging has been contracted to completed the $7.25 million project, which is expected to be completed by next summer. By using a hydraulic dredging system, visitors to Lake Accotink are still able to utilize the park’s paddle boats and enjoy the guided boat tours of the lake during the dredging, said Tawny Hammond, park manager.