Planning History for New Jennie Dean


The School Board of the City of Manassas has engaged in substantial discussions over the last few years in response to the evolving educational landscape and the aging infrastructure of Jennie Dean Elementary School. Focused on addressing instructional needs and acknowledging the outdated state of the 60-year-old building, the primary debate has centered on whether to repair or replace it.

After a thorough review of available options, the School Board has taken proactive steps toward building a new Jennie Dean. This decision reflects a commitment to providing a modern and conducive learning environment, aligning with the demands of the times.

Formation of Joint Task

The School Board and City Council formed a joint task force for the New Dean Project after receiving a cost estimate of over $80 million from Downey and Scott. During their first meeting on March 22, 2023, the task force discussed their shared concern over the rising costs of building materials and supply chain issues. These issues threatened the division's plan to build New Dean due to the increased price tag.

At that initial meeting, the task force discussed various topics, such as the optimal utilization of topographic features at the Dean site, the appropriate building size concerning the student population, and the allocated budget for the project. Moreover, the group emphasized the significance of paying proper respect to Jennie Dean.

During the meeting, the task force discussed the recommendation made by the Educational Support Committee to rebuild a replica of Baldwin. However, after the discussion, the task force decided to reduce the size of the proposed school and request bids for a new building that would be more suitable for the Jennie Dean Site. We followed through with this decision over the next few months.

Timeline Overview

A brief overview of the timeline includes: 

  • Request for Proposal (RFP) to bid on the project 

  • Site visit with potential vendors 

  • Proposal submissions from multiple vendors 

  • A review committee convening to narrow down top architectural prospects 

  • Interviews of top 3 consultants 

  • Contract award to RRMM Architects at the School Board's June 2023 regular meeting.

On June 13, 2023, the School Board of the City of Manassas awarded the New Dean contract to RRMM Architects. The following chart represents the proposed schedule established for the completion of the project:

Jennie Dean schedule

The New Dean Project task force met again on June 26, 2023, and updates were shared among the members after the school board had received a contract. The group was given insights into forecasting trends related to population projections, student forecasts, demographics, and future building development plans. These insights were shared by the City's Planning and Community Development Director. Ultimately, the task force members approved and agreed that they were capable and ready to defend the final number of 900 students to be built on time and within budget. 

RRMM provided an initial timeline to break ground in 2025, but has shown several iterations of the project, which may start sooner and allow more time for design development at the front end of the project.  

The school board visited two two-story spec schools designed by RRMM. These schools had the same base design that the school board was looking to replicate. One of the schools was built for 885 students and the other for 1,000. The school board enjoyed the opportunity to tour the facilities and came back with a firm resolve about the direction of the project. The school board is very pleased and excited about the future of our new pride of Manassas. This new school will be a fitting tribute to Jennie Dean and will be shared with the public during community meetings in January 2024.

The School Board is appreciative of the following members of the task force: Board members Jill Spall, Carl Hollingsworth, Christina Brooks, and Council members Mark Wolfe, Tom Osina, Ralph Smith.  Additionally, Pat Pate (former City Manager), Matt Arcieri (Planning and Community Development Director), Russ Helton (MCPS Director of Facilities and Maintenance), Andy Hawkins (former Executive Director of Finance and Operations), and Dr. Kevin Newman (Superintendent of Schools) for their collaborative work on this venture. Their joint efforts have been instrumental in achieving the desired outcome.

Aerial View

Aerial View of Dean Park via City of Manassas Public Amenities Comprehensive Review (October 2013)

Dean Park

Dean Park Master Plan (March 2017)