McLean: Saving the Community Hall; Preparing for Closure

McLean: Saving the Community Hall; Preparing for Closure

McLean Community Center likely to be closed for renovations in 2017 from April through November.

Dave Hallett, of the Lukmire Partnership, showed two design plans to the McLean Community Center’s Capital Facilities and Finance committees. One design plan saves Maffitt Hall.

Dave Hallett, of the Lukmire Partnership, showed two design plans to the McLean Community Center’s Capital Facilities and Finance committees. One design plan saves Maffitt Hall. Photo by Ken Moore.


McLean Community Center’s executive director George Sachs, executive assistant Ellen Barial, and comptroller Ashok Karra. Karra developed a budget plan that would save the community hall.


Lukmire Partnership’s Dave Hallett reviews two possible design plans for McLean Community Center’s upcoming renovation.

The McLean Community Center’s Central Financing Committee transformed a week of public worry into a probable solution for the center’s beloved and well-used Maffitt Hall community room.

“We know how important this room is to everybody in McLean,” said Andrea DelVecchio, McLean Citizens Association liaison to the MCC Governing Board.

McLean Community Center’s $8.1 million modernization project is over budget, and at last week’s Governing Board meetings, a controversial proposal would turn the 900-square-foot Maffitt Hall into office space.

But with a little help from friend and comptroller Ashok Karra, the committee was able to channel $125,000 from the HVAC budget into the construction project and $25,000 more from reserves for the center.

That money had been carried over since 2011.

“A brilliant solution to some of our problems,” said Governing Board member Dennis Findley, chair of the Capital Facilities committee.

“A lot of people are interested in what’s going to happen,” said MCC executive director George Sachs.

“We have some extra dollars, everyone should pat themselves on the back,” said Findley.

“A lot of people are interested in what’s going to happen.”

--MCC executive director George Sachs

MARK ZETTS, of McLean Citizens Association’s Planning and Zoning Committee, came to last week’s meeting to advocate for Maffitt Hall to be saved for community use.

“We have been using the room for 15 years,” he said.

McLean Citizens Association uses Maffitt Hall regularly,

Zetts said, emphatically, and the McLean Community Center has always been able to give MCA space for members to meet with architects, developers, community members, commissioners and supervisors at a moment’s notice.

“I was surprised to see that Maffitt was turned into office space,” said Zetts.

The $150,000 will save the community hall, as well as construction and renovations needed on the basement and administrative offices.

Meet the Candidates

The Friends of the McLean Community Center Board will sponsor the “Meet the Candidates” reception for MCC Board Candidates on Sunday, May 1 from 2-4 p.m.

The League of Women Voters will handle the board elections on McLean Day, May 21 at Lewinsville Park.

Candidates Needed; Apply by March 25

Two student board members, 15-17 years old, are needed to serve on the 11-member McLean Community Center Governing Board.

Adult candidates are also needed.

McLean Community Center’s mission is to provide a sense of community by undertaking programs, assisting community organizations, furnishing facilities for civic, cultural, educational, recreational and social activities to residents of the McLean Community Center District.

Completed petitions to serve on the board are due by March 25; petition packets are available at MCC.

An orientation for Board candidates is scheduled for April 13, a Meet the Candidates Reception is scheduled for May 1, and voting will take place on McLean Day on May 21 (and by absentee voting from April 11-May 18).

THIS THURSDAY, Feb. 4, the MCC Board’s Capital Facilities Committee is scheduled to make a recommendation to the entire Board on two design plans, one that saves the community room and one that turns the Maffitt Hall into office space.

“I’d like everyone to sit with this and take it in,” said Findley.

He called the modernization project “a once-in-40-year event.”

“We will have to buckle up and make it through,” he said.

FOR THE FIRST TIME in 40 years, The McLean Community Center will prepare for the center to close during construction of the front parking lot and storm water drainage piping. At this point, a possible timetable would be closure from April 1, 2017 through Nov. 30, 2017 for construction.

According to the Community Center’s Governing Board documents, a three-month ramp-up period would allow the Alden Theatre to operate through March 31, 2017 and resume performance on Dec. 1, 2017.

Other features of the facility including offices, classrooms and meeting rooms will remain closed while construction is fully completed, and the entire center would reopen by Sept. 1, 2018.

New Leasing Rules

Groups that rent space to hold events in McLean Community Center could be allowed to set conditions on who is allowed to attend and what they might bring in, including prohibiting firearms. Other restrictions could forbid recording devices, unauthorized printed materials and alcohol.

The McLean Community Center’s Governing Board passed a motion at its December meeting to amend the center’s booking contracts with organizations renting space in the center, the Alden Theatre and the Old Firehouse Teen Center.

According to the Governing Board’s documents:

“the following statement shall be included in all rental agreements between MCC and outside renters for all MCC facilities:

The Applicant may limit the persons entering its rented space to members of its organization or those invited to the meeting or event. The Applicant may also restrict persons from its rented space who are in possession of recording devices, unauthorized printed materials, firearms or alcohol, and may restrict persons for any other lawful purpose. An Applicant choosing to impose any such restrictions shall post a notice to that effect within its rented space. The notice posted by the Applicant shall explicitly specify the time and place of its meeting or event in the rented space, and state that such restrictions are imposed and enforced solely by the Applicant and not by the Center, Fairfax County or its officers or representatives. The Applicant is asked to provide the Center’s Facilities Manager with prior written notice of any such restrictions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Applicant does not have any right to restrict members of Center staff from accessing rented space.”