New Thomas Jefferson Elementary Adds Space and Visual Appeal
By Stephen Siegel
Falls Church Times Staff
Sept. 5, 2013
The new Thomas Jefferson Elementary School opened on time this week with additional space, new colors, and an overall fresher, more updated appearance, courtesy of a $9.9 million overhaul that added 15 classrooms and updated the original building.
The centerpiece of the makeover is the new classroom space, which was needed to accommodate increasing enrollment and a decision to move the fifth grade back to the school from Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School. That decision, in turn, allowed officials to move the eighth grade back to the middle school from it’s non-traditional location at George Mason High School.
But the original building also has many new features, including an expanded cafeteria, an expanded library, and new carpet in each classroom. The hallways were stripped of the old carpeting and given more durable tile flooring instead.
A whimsical theme is present throughout. Visitors coming in the front door are greeted by a likeness of the mascot TJ the Tiger, along with some one inch square tiles in a random pattern and a large green tree at the junction of the two hallways outside the main office.
Even areas that are not official destinations were spruced up. A top floor hallway area outside several of the new classrooms has a bench and a colorful theme, making it more welcoming than such a non-descript location would typically be.
And in the old building, bright colors were used sparingly but artistically on the new tile floors and on the walls outside classrooms doors, improving the visual appeal of the otherwise dull concrete block and tile materials.
The construction is all done, with only a few minor “punchlist” items left to be completed.
A quick look around Thursday showed there were a few spots where drywall panels still need to be taped and finished.
And the athletic field has fresh sod that isn’t quite ready for 1,400 little feet, but should be in a couple of weeks, officials say.
By Stephen Siegel
September 5, 2013