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Fairfax County Approves Moving Public Schools To Vacant Office Buildings

6245 Leesburg Pike Falls Church

As it looks for ways to fill its 20M SF of vacant office space and find low-cost ways to expand its public schools, Fairfax County thinks it may have found a solution that fixes both problems.

Fairfax County's comprehensive plan will now allow schools to co-locate with other public uses and other types of programs in one structure after the board of supervisors unanimously passed an amendment Tuesday, the Washington Business Journal reports.

This amendment allows adaptive reuse of office buildings for educational functions and permits rooftops and parking lots to be used for outdoor recreation. 

As the county's public school system has seen its student population grow to more than 180,000, it is looking to combat overcrowding classrooms by expanding into new space. Reusing vacant office space is a lot cheaper than building new space from scratch, the county has found.

The first school to make this change, Bailey's Elementary School, moved in 2014 to the office building shown above at 6245 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church. [WBJ]