BFA Fairfax has a long tradition of education within a single school building and serving as an anchor within our community. We are proud of our commitment to instill a sense of community in our students as well as our belief that a PreK-12 school building is an essential community asset. BFA Fairfax was built in 1903 through funds left in the Hiram Bellows Trust. For over 100 years, the Fairfax community has remained committed to a single building that meets the social, emotional, and academic needs of all students in our town. For the past 25 years, all major facility upgrades to the high school and middle school have been deferred.
In the spring of 2014, the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee (LRFPC) was charged by the Fairfax School Board to consider the needs of our school building as we prepare for the next 25 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.
A process emerged over the past year which produced several dynamic solutions for helping meet our goal of preparing to serve our students and community for the next several decades. We have conducted assessments of our building’s mechanical, electrical, architectural, and code and compliance/life safety needs.
In the fall of 2015, as Franklin West Supervisory Union began to investigate options under Act 46 as required by law, it became apparent that any long-range plan for BFA would depend on the direction taken by the Act 46 committee. Thus, the LRFPC took a hiatus pending the conclusion of that work. In the end, the FWSU Act 46 Study Committee did not recommend any action toward consolidation. Since there was still an identified need to prepare our building for the future, the LRFPC began meeting again in November 2016.
Prepared with additional information from the Act 46 study, the committee partnered with Black River Design to update the school facility — not only to provide additional opportunities for our students but to also create spaces that would benefit the entire community. The aim was to create flexible learning space for our students and provide a robust high and middle school experience as we considered the potential spaces as resources for community involvement. In February 2017, the architects presented a plan that will meet our school and community’s needs for the next 25 years.
Highlights of the plan include new science labs, a middle school gymnasium, an auditorium, flexible workspaces for students and community groups, and the return of the original entrance to the front of the school. After 25 years without any major building updates, the time has come to invest in our school and community to ensure that our facility and programs remain attractive and viable for years to come.
Black River Design shared their proposal with the Fairfax Board of School Directors on March 13th. The board moved to proceed with a bond vote in the fall of this year. The committee, the board, and the architects will work together to provide details of the proposal to the community, answer your questions, and hear your feedback. The plans shown here are in draft form and will be updated throughout the process. Community input is important so please make your voice heard. The committee and the board are excited about the potential for our school represented in this proposal and we look forward to discussing it with you. Please be on the lookout for upcoming opportunities to learn more about the project.