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Major renovations are now underway to modernize Fair Oaks Mall. The Fairfax indoor mall opened in 1980 and, while it has had some updates since then, it still has many of its original design features.

“We are doing some significant renovations to modernize and contemporize Fair Oaks Mall and create a better shopping experience,” said Ed Cassidy, the mall’s marketing manager.

The first phase of the renovation will focus on the seating areas in the mall and the children’s play area.

The recessed seating areas will be made level with the rest of the floor and will get an updated look. There will also be new lighting and flooring installed.

Fair Oaks will be installing “tech tables” throughout the mall, where customers can plug in a laptop or other device and take advantage of the free wireless Internet that will be installed on both levels of the mall.

Cassidy said Fair Oaks will be the first mall in the region to introduce free WiFi.

The mall and its stores will remain open during the renovations and most of the construction work will be done at night, when the mall is closed, Cassidy said.

The first phase of renovations is scheduled to be complete before the holiday shopping season begins. Fair Oaks will take a break from the overhaul to accommodate holiday shoppers, and then resume work early next year, Cassidy said.

The more intensive construction elements, which include demolishing and replacing the existing mall entrances and overhauling the mall’s center court and customer service center, will wait until next year.

The fountains in the court will be removed to make way for additional seating.

The mall entrances will be revamped with better signs and other features to make them more visible and easier to access, Cassidy said.

kschumitz@fairfaxtimes.com