The Mulford School received Fairfax County's blessing Monday for two new permits that will enable it to provide a more expanded program to its students.
For more than four decades, the Mulford family has run a preschool and riding school in Centreville. Then a few years ago, owners Preston and Beverley Mulford and son Harry built a new school, relocating to Route 29 near Gate Post Estates.
Afterward, the Mulfords sought the county's permission to add 7 1/2 acres for a playground and other uses — including dance, tumbling and karate, horseback riding lessons and a summer camp. Having the additional land will enable them to have a riding and boarding stable, plus a pool and pool house.
They also needed county approval for residential use of the building's 3,000-square-foot second floor by Preston and Beverly Mulford, so they could live there as caretakers.
On Feb. 16, the Planning Commission approved the special-exception permit regarding the caretakers' residence and land increase. Then on Feb. 28, the Board of Zoning Appeals OKed the special permit required for the riding and boarding stable.
Next stop was the Board of Supervisors, Monday, March 13, and the Board gave a thumbs-up for both permits. And Harry Mulford was delighted. "We're very happy to get those permits through," he said Tuesday. "We're about to enter our 47th year of operation, and we look forward to being able to provide expanded programs."
For example, he said, "Now we'll be able to offer dance, tumbling and karate on Saturday, as well." Furthermore, the 7 1/2 acres also includes a 40,000-square-foot playground under the trees — adding to the school's 3,000-square-foot children's bicycle-riding area already there.
As for the horseback-riding program, Mulford said it's already up and running but, because of the additional acreage, will be even better than before. "We're ready to go," he said. "And now, besides doing riding in a ring, we can also do it along the trails."
"It's going to be really nice," he continued. "The original, special-exception permit was to teach horseback riding to children. The special permit allows us to teach it to beginners through advanced and to all ages. Now, if someone calls and asks if we teach horseback riding to adults, we can say, "'Yes.'"