Builder Provides Facility at Cost

When students at The Enterprise School (TES) in Vienna, Va. return for the new school year, they will be entering a building provided to them by an area luxury home builder.

By Rob Fanjoy, Associate Editor | July 31, 2000


A Virginia luxury homebuilder provided a new building at cost to an area school for at-risk teens.


When students at The Enterprise School (TES) in Vienna, Va. return for the new school year, they will be entering a building provided to them by an area luxury home builder. Renaissance Housing Corp. has provided its services at cost to TES, a therapeutic day school for at-risk teens.

The Reston, Va. builder is erecting a new 10,000 square foot facility, which features an exterior exactly like one of the many luxury single-family home plans Renaissance offers to its high-end buyers.

The interior floor plan, however, has been modified to suit the school’s dining, classroom, office and laboratory needs.

"The school’s old facility was more than 100 years old, and they had to keep renovating parts of it as they were using it just to stay up and running," says Albert Small, Jr., president of Renaissance.


The new facility replaces the over 100-year-old structure which was in constant need of renovation.


"We’re just trying to do our best in order to help The Enterprise School, because they provide a valuable and irreplaceable service to the community."

Founded 26 years ago on a 41/2-acre site near the fashionable Tyson’s Corner area of Northeastern Virginia, TES services Fairfax County teens with behavior and/or truancy problems. The school simulates a professional business environment along with its highly structured academic and counseling program. The program has been highly successful in getting these teens to finish their high school education and even move on to college. All students are placed in internships, which often turn into full-time employment.

The Enterprise School Principal and Founder Michelle Surwit had been looking for a new facility and came up with a proposal for Renaissance.

"I fell in love with one of the company’s model homes and began discussions about them possibly building our new school," says Surwit. "Mr. Small and his staff were very enthusiastic, and worked with us closely during the more than three years of planning and permitting."

The school sits on the same site as the old school, but the new building is much larger with three floors and a full basement. The Lessard Architectural Group of Vienna, Va., which also provided their services at cost, designed the interior for school use.

The building is actually much larger than most of Renaissance’s typical plans and includes higher ceilings and more windows. The building offers six classrooms and several staff offices as well as an elevator.


When possible, place natural light sources as close as possible to work surfaces and other critical areas.


Building codes also dictated other interior design differences such as enclosed stairways to comply with local fire codes.

"There were many code considerations and extensive review processes from various enforcement agencies, but it has all been worth it," says Project Manager Richard Cunningham of Renaissance.

Cunningham adds that a deceleration lane had to be added near the entrance of the school because both the neighborhood and the school are getting bigger.

Small says that many Renaissance trade contractors are also donating or discounting their services for TES, which is funded and supported by county agencies, private foundations and some corporations.

"We’re encouraging the entire Fairfax County business community to help TES finish and furnish the new home, which will be ready for the first day of school."