Oakton Elementary Renovations Near Completion
Playground facility, major indoor construction work to be finished before school year begins
When Oakton Elementary School welcomes students next month, it will boast a new playground for them to enjoy.
A new blacktop and soccer field next to the school are nearing completion, as the 18 trailers that used to fill much of that space have been removed.
"... [I]t is exciting to think about having a new blacktop and larger field to play on this year," Principal Christine Gray wrote in her renovation blog.
This summer's construction work continued the $13 million renovations project that began December 2010. In addition to the new play area, the school has renovated some classrooms and built new ones in addition to new administrative offices, a new library and a renovated auditorium.
When the construction crews finish their work later this year, the renovations to the 66-year-old school will have cost about $13 million and expand the school from 71,000 to 91,600 square feet.
"The Oakton Elementary renovation has been a tough one. The site is pretty constricted, but in the end they will have a beautiful facility for the kids and staff," said Kevin Sneed, director of design and construction services with Fairfax County Public Schools.
The playground and school will be open and safe for students, with construction crews only on site for any corrective work that comes along after the school year begins.
"In my experience, the kids aren't necessarily oblivious to the construction work but they certainly aren't as bothered by it as the adults," Sneed said. "Adults are accustomed to a certain amount of order and consistency in their lives, so having to adjust to the changes that come with a project like this can be difficult."
Sneed said the process can often be hardest on the principal, whose main hurdle is often staying in communication with faculty and the school community as the project progresses.
Gray — who became principal in 2010, just months before construction began — has run a blog on the school website about the construction, posting updates and photos.
"She's done a good job," Sneed said. "I don't think it's always a fun job to go through for the principal, but it's all about communication in something like this."