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New Light at the End of the Road for a Falls Church Elementary School

Graham Road Elementary moving down the street into renovated building.

Students at will arrive bright and early on Sept. 4 in their new clothes and new supplies to put on their new desks in their new school.

Really, the school moved down the street into a renovated building when classes ended in June. Terry Dade, principal at the school, said the renovated building has better natural lighting than the old building and more space for instruction.

“We had to turn our teacher’s lounge into a classroom in the other building,” Dade said Tuesday.

The 16-month renovation project of an old administrative building cost Fairfax County Public Schools more than $10 million, said spokeswoman Mary Shaw. The school can hold up to 515 students, she said. Dade said he is working with the school’s PTA to work on an open house the Friday before classes start to get students acclimated with their new building.

Dade, 35, resembled a bright-eyed bushy tailed child in a toy store Tuesday as he walked the halls of his new digs. Entering his third year at the helm of the elementary school, Dade smiled with every door he opened and every step he took, joking he will now need skates to get down the long illuminated halls.

“It’s just great to have a place that students and teachers can take pride in,” Dade said.

When the school was at 3036 Graham Rd., about 90 percent of the students walked to school. Now that they’ve moved to 2831 Graham Rd., Dade said students will have to be bussed to school. He said he is working with the PTA to figure out how to get students to the school without having to use the busses. Along with the open house on Aug. 31, Dade said they will also have students take a dry run at getting to their new bus stops.

“There’s not a single parent or teacher that’s upset about the move,” Dade said.

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