During the past several months, the APS staff has developed a series of options for capacity-generating construction projects at 18 sites throughout the county. At its February work session, the School Board trimmed the list from 60 to 39 options. On March 21, the Board held a work session as the latest step in the capacity planning process. At that session, staff members presented four “option sets” that were developed from the Board’s prioritized criteria for creating new seats. All of the sets were developed to create approximately 1,800 or more new elementary school seats over the next five or six years. The four options sets each included between five and eight construction projects at different sites: one option set included only additions to existing school buildings, two sets showed one new school and several additions, and the fourth set showed two new schools and three additions.
Staff presented the four option sets in relation to (1) the number of seats created in each of APS’s four geographic quadrants, (2) the cost of each set, and (3) the timing of bringing new seats online. Board members discussed each option and gave staff guidance to continue refining data and to modify Option Set D to create a revised set of options achieving the target of 1,800 added elementary seats. Staff was also asked to develop a projected timeline for the proposed projects.
Option Set D currently shows constructing new elementary schools adjacent to Williamsburg Middle School and on the Carlin Springs Elementary/Kenmore Middle School site, as well as additions to existing buildings at three elementary schools – Arlington Traditional, Ashlawn, and McKinley. The Board asked for further consideration to develop a project at the Madison site as part of a revision of Option Set D. In addition, the Board established $125M as a maximum for the combined projects in the revised Option Set.
As our deliberations continue, the Board has asked staff to reach out to the PTAs and civic associations that would be directly impacted by this set of projects to encourage their engagement in the ongoing process.
A community update will be held in the theater at Washington-Lee High School at 7-8:30 p.m. on March 28. At that session, staff will present a summary of the March 21 work session and will allow time to answer questions from attendees. We strongly urge members of your association to attend this meeting and to engage in the important process of planning for growth in school enrollment throughout Arlington County.
As a reminder: information about and all documents related to the capacity planning process are available on the APS website at www.apsva.us/capacity. If you need to speak to a staff member, please don’t hesitate to contact our Facilities and Operations Department at 703-228-6600 to speak with John Chadwick, our Director of Design and Construction, or Alison Denton, our Facilities Planner and GIS Specialist.