|Fairfax Christian School, which now serves 250 students from kindergarten to 12th grade, is planning a move into Loudoun County. - Courtesy/education.com|
Fairfax Christian School, a for-profit private school currently located in Vienna, has filed special exemption paperwork with the county to build a new campus on Pacific Avenue, not far from Dulles International Airport.
Currently the Fairfax Christian School is split between two campuses occupying almost 30 acres in Vienna and rental space in what was the Reston Northern Virginia Community College campus.
The school, which has been in business since 1961, now serves 250 students from kindergarten to 12th grade. The first high school graduates from the school received their diplomas in 1968.
The current high school has an enrollment of 150 students.
Students live as far away as Dumfries, Hamilton, Washington D.C. and parts of Maryland, according to Jo Thoburn, president and CEO of Fairfax Christian.
Even though the school is changing counties, its name will remain the same.
“We’re not going to change our name,” said Thoburn, citing years of service to the community.
She attributed the move to a much friendlier business climate laid out by Loudoun County.
“We are a for-profit school hoping the county treats us as a business,” said Thoburn.
Since the land Fairfax Christian is planning to build on is already zoned for a school, there is no need to go through a rezoning process.
“We don’t want to wait seven years for the county to tell us we can’t expand,” said Thoburn in explaining her hesitation with attempting to build a new school somewhere in Fairfax.
Students are now bused between the campus at NOVA Reston and the main campus in Vienna.
"It's not really practical to shuttle students between the schools," said Thoburn. “We’re just out of space. We want to get it all under one roof."
The distance from the Vienna campus to the planned location for the new facility in Dulles is roughly 12 miles.
Fairfax Christian plans to have the Dulles school built in 18 months. Government approval of the special exemption and other procedural matters are still on the to-do list, but construction is expected to start some time toward the end of this year.
School officials hope to see students and teachers move into the building by the second semester of the 2015-2016 school year, with 2016-2017 being the first full year of instruction.
"A good chunk of our students are already driving into Loudoun County," said Thoburn explaining that roughly 30 percent of the school’s current students are from Loudoun.
The new facility will house 30 classrooms, a multipurpose room, library, a gymnasium, golf practice facilities and an outdoor soccer facility.
Eventually plans are to add an amphitheater and if necessary, a second building.