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February 27, 2017

St. James’ school addition gets final town approval

Contributed Images
The addition will stand on the back side of the Culpeper Street church.
The flat roof will allow sunlight to continue to fall on the church sanctuary’s stained glass windows, according to the project architect.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
An addition to the school at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Warrenton received its final approval last week.

The town Architectural Review Board voted, 5-0, Thursday night to grant a “certificate of appropriateness” for the 10,000-square-foot addition with a flat roof.

Because the church, rebuilt in 1912 after a fire, stands in Warrenton’s historic district, the project needed ARB approval of the design and materials.

Earlier this month, the town council voted, 6-0, to grant a special use permit for the project on the rear of the church property at 73 Culpeper Street.

The ARB last year conducted three work sessions on the school addition.

“I appreciate your application and all the amendments you’ve made,” ARB Chairman Carter Nevill told the applicants Thursday night.

Church leaders hope to start work on the building in May.

The first phase will include construction of the new building with a flat roof, five classrooms and an unfinished basement.

Former ARB members James “J” Tucker and Melissa Wiedenfeld, who resigned last month, had advocated a pitched roof.

“A gable roof would block the (stained glass) ascension window” in the church sanctuary, said Sean Reilly of Kerns Group Architects in Falls Church, who fielded questions for the applicant.

ARB Vice Chairman Steve Wojcik agreed.

“I don’t think a gable roof would have been appropriate . . . because of scale and massing,” Mr. Wojcik said.

The architects also decided to bump out part of the structure on the left side to “break down the mass” of the building, Mr. Reilly said.

The addition will have a stucco façade similar to the church.

A slate gable roof will cover the entrance to the new addition. It will have timber columns similar to the existing building.

The second phase would include improvements to the parking lot, adding nine spaces — for a total of 37 — and a one-way student drop-off/pickup lane.

In 2015, the town council approved a waiver to allow the church to proceed with the project despite not quite meeting the zoning ordinance’s required number of parking spaces.

Vehicles will continue to enter the lot from Beckham Street. The South Third Street exit will get moved to align with East Franklin Street.

The ARB also elected Mr. Nevill as the chairman and Mr. Wojcik as vice chairman.

Two new ARB members, Laura Bartee and Kevin Roop, cast votes for the first time Thursday night.
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