Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee: Looking Toward the Future of BFA Fairfax

Target – Engaged Community Partners – FWSU staff and students will collaborate, innovate, create and conceptualize ideas and learning with local, regional, state and global partners to make a difference in their community, state and world.

bfaOne of the many great attributes of Fairfax is our commitment to instilling a sense of community in our students, and our contingent belief that being a PreK-12 School building is an essential component of a great community. BFA Fairfax was built in 1903 from monies in the Hiram Bellows Trust. For over one hundred years this community has remained committed to a single building that can meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students.

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Fairfax suffered the devastating loss of the school due to fire in 1943, after which time the school was rebuilt. Since that time the community has built on to the existing structure to meet the needs of our town and students. I often tell people that our building is a lot like a Vermont farmhouse: when we needed space we added on and over the decades the additions have mainly worked to meet our needs.

Last spring the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee was charged by the School Board to consider the needs of our school building as we prepare for the next twenty five years. The committee is made up of community members, staff, administration, and school board representatives.  We meet monthly with Black River Design Architects to evaluate and maximize our space needs and to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.

The process over the past year has produced several dynamic solutions for meeting our goal of a school building that is prepared to serve our students and community for the next several decades. We have conducted assessments of the building’s mechanical, electrical, architectural, and code and compliance/life safety needs.

One immediate need that we are addressing is the renovation of four of our ten bathrooms in the middle/high school wings. In early June the bathrooms in the 1943 wing will be completely renovated using funds from this year’s budget and from the Capital Improvement fund. We anticipate the bathrooms being completed by the end of July.

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An artist’s conception of “School of the Future”

As the Long Range Facilities Committee completes our work this summer we will begin a process of sharing our proposals, receiving community input, and planning next steps to achieve our goals for the building and the community. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns at twalsh@fwsu.org. We look forward to engaging our community in planning next several decades

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