Originally built in 1939, the Original Mount Vernon High School (OMVHS) stands as a classic example of Colonial Revival architecture on a 22-acre site that was once part of George Washington’s estate. The school was listed in the National Registry of Historic Places in 2018 and has incredible potential for adaptive reuse as a multipurpose community space.

After many months of multi-departmental planning efforts, Fairfax County hired VMDO to help envision the future of the OMVHS facility – a process that includes a robust public engagement process, comprehensive renovations, historic preservation, and adaptive reuse strategies for the existing historic buildings.

VMDO has completed the designs for Phase I of Fairfax County’s re-imagining of this historic structure. With a renewed sense of purpose, the former high school will offer the South County community a place to be inspired, to learn, to innovate, and, most importantly, to gather: The Original Mount Vernon Welcome Center.


Originally built in 1939, the Original Mount Vernon High School (OMVHS) stands as a classic example of Colonial Revival architecture on a 22-acre site that was once part of George Washington’s estate. The school was listed in the National Registry of Historic Places in 2018 and has incredible potential for adaptive reuse as a multipurpose community space.

After many months of multi-departmental planning efforts, Fairfax County hired VMDO to help envision the future of the OMVHS facility – a process that includes a robust public engagement process, comprehensive renovations, historic preservation, and adaptive reuse strategies for the existing historic buildings.

VMDO has completed the designs for Phase I of Fairfax County’s re-imagining of this historic structure. With a renewed sense of purpose, the former high school will offer the South County community a place to be inspired, to learn, to innovate, and, most importantly, to gather: The Original Mount Vernon Welcome Center.


The designs will support community-based learning environments, recreational spaces, childcare, social/civic programming, administrative spaces, theater, gymnasium, food service, and innovative community and incubation spaces for multiple users. The adaptive reuse and renovations of OMVHS will transform the site into a vibrant community space that can be used by a mix of public, private, residential, educational, recreational, and non-profit entities.


OMVHS’s 120,000 sf revitalization design walks the line between preserving historic elements while restoring cosmetic features and updating systems with the aid of tax credits. Understanding that the facade of the structure must remain intact, VMDO and the County set about determining the most effective way to honor the original vision of the architect who conceived of this landmark in brick, while delivering on the promise of the future with the smallest possible environmental impact.

The designs will support community-based learning environments, recreational spaces, childcare, social/civic programming, administrative spaces, theater, gymnasium, food service, and innovative community and incubation spaces for multiple users. The adaptive reuse and renovations of OMVHS will transform the site into a vibrant community space that can be used by a mix of public, private, residential, educational, recreational, and non-profit entities.


OMVHS’s 120,000 sf revitalization design walks the line between preserving historic elements while restoring cosmetic features and updating systems with the aid of tax credits. Understanding that the facade of the structure must remain intact, VMDO and the County set about determining the most effective way to honor the original vision of the architect who conceived of this landmark in brick, while delivering on the promise of the future with the smallest possible environmental impact.

The grand frontage of the OMVHS will remain, belying the transformation that will occur within, the highlight of which will be revealed upon approach to the rear of the building - the entrance to the new Welcome Center. Fronted almost entirely by structural glass, the new entrance will enable visitors an unobstructed view of the historic bones of the building within.


The design warmly invites the community inside through the Welcome Center to partake of programs already underway such as the teen and senior center, and new initiatives that include educational life skill and cultural programs; recreational facilities; and innovation and business incubation spaces.


The grand frontage of the OMVHS will remain, belying the transformation that will occur within, the highlight of which will be revealed upon approach to the rear of the building - the entrance to the new Welcome Center. Fronted almost entirely by structural glass, the new entrance will enable visitors an unobstructed view of the historic bones of the building within.


The design warmly invites the community inside through the Welcome Center to partake of programs already underway such as the teen and senior center, and new initiatives that include educational life skill and cultural programs; recreational facilities; and innovation and business incubation spaces.


Client: Fairfax County

Location: Alexandria, VA

Discipline: Community Spaces

Size: 127,000 sf Renovation 24,000 sf New Construction

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