Image: VMDO Architects (via APS)
In a quick succession of votes and nary a word from the public, the Arlington Public Schools Board voted to accept the superintendent’s recommended boundary changes to seven north Arlington schools and to accept the concept design of the new elementary school to be built on the campus of Williamsburg Middle School, at 3600 N. Harrison St.
The boundary plan, approved unanimously by the four board member present, will move 900 students, some from one current school to another, including 560 from a current school into the new elementary school.
“I think the process here has been transparent, it's been inclusive,” said board member Abby Raphael before casting her vote. “This is the best process I have ever seen.”
She was on the board in 2008 when the board last seriously took up the issue of elementerary school boundaries. She recalled the lines of people to speak at board meetings. She said she knew the process was working when public hearings on the issue this year had dozens, not hundreds, of speakers. Although about half the people who spoke this year did not like the superintendent’s plan, “This proposal is the right one,” she said.
Board member Noah Simon echoed that idea.
“I have done my homework over this,” he said, adding later, this is the only "sound and reasonable decision that we can make."
The boundary changes affect students in Ashlawn, Glebe, Jamestown, McKinley, Nottingham, Taylor, Tuckahoe elementary schools as well as those who will attend the new, as yet unnamed, elementary school.
This is far from the end. The schools will pick the “More Seats for More Students” process again in June. They will be looking farther south in the county.
Another new school is planned for the campus of Kenmore Middle School on S. Carlin Springs Road. According to board documents, APS will have a deficit of more than 7,400 seats in ten years. The new school as well as additions to others are part of the plan to find space for those children.
Also on the agenda was the design of the new school on the Williamsburg campus.
The approved building design includes 28 classrooms spread over 97,000 gross-square-feet with a capacity of 630 students. Other details about the building such as the landscaping and exterior appearance still must be worked out before it open for the fall 2015 semester.
It will cost about $43 million to construct.