As the planning phase for the new George Mason High School goes into full swing this summer, special considerations are already being made for how to transfer years of commemorative items donated by school alumni to the new campus.
The items come in all shapes in sizes. In front of the school’s entrance is the Business in Education Partnership (BIE) brick pathway that has over 1,000 engraved bricks listing the names of former alumni and coaches that used to attend or work at the school as well as clubs, organizations and businesses that continue to influence current students. Also outside the front entrance are rows of planters and benches with their placards attached identifying families or individuals who attended the City of Falls Church high school.
Other commemorative items include trees planted all around the outside of the campus, as well as plaques, seals and murals that have been dedicated to the school.
Transferring the objects will be a seamless process, for the most part, which is good news for alumni that are fiscally and emotionally invested in the trinkets.
“These items are very important to the fabric of our community, representing the people who put their heart and soul into Falls Church and George Mason High School,” Marybeth Connelly, who runs Masons commemorative brick program, said. “They are a special because they keep memories alive, and provide a unique gathering place for their family and friends. [Falls Church City Public Schools] plans to keep it all, with the intent of reusing it in a new location.”
Bricks, planters, benches and plaques are the easiest transfers out of the current list of transfers. The bricks will be re-slotted into their new place appropriately, especially grouped bricks such as the entire Class of 1959 who made a purchase together with the intent on being collectively assembled. The benches themselves are old and will be replaced but the plaques attached to them will be a part of a new seating area once available to do so. Trees can’t be replanted but FCCPS will dedicate new trees at the new school as well.
The only tricky items are the murals. Since most are painted onto walls in Mason’s interior, with the “Mustang Spirit” mural and another one with the Mason “M” on the exterior, they appear firmly static. However, Connelly insists that despite the challenge FCCPS is willing to get creative in how to transfer them.
One idea that’s been floated by community members is creating a Legacy Garden at the new Mason where all these items can reside.
“FCCPS is very supportive of this idea,” Connelly continued. “We think that many community groups would like to be involved in the planning of this memorial area. All of these details will be worked out in the Detailed Design Phase that starts this summer.”
FCCPS is still accepting orders for bricks. Connelly believes that Mason will launch another campaign soon so alumni can contribute more benches, bricks, planters and trees to the school’s new site.