(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) School officials, County Board members and other local dignitaries donned helmets and shovels to help break ground on the new, $118 million Wakefield High School today.
Over the next 2-3 years workers will build a 380,000 square foot school to replace the existing, 60-year-old building. The new Wakefield will feature 50 classrooms, state-of-the-art science labs, a 625 seat auditorium, a media center, two new athletic fields, two gyms, two pools, a diving well and a geothermal heating and cooling plant.
“It’s a very significant investment that’s going to be a great asset to the county,” said County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman. “Obviously, investing in the kids is the most important aspect of it, but it’s also something that’s going to provide services to Arlingtonians who don’t even have children in the school system. It’s a commuinity center, as all schools are. It will be a great symbol for the county.”
Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy said the new Wakefield is a testament to the hard work of school employees, supporters and students, past and present.
“There has been a lot of energy and focus, and a lot of community involvement,” Murphy said. “I think it sends a really strong message about the belief in public education”
The new building is expected to be ready for occupancy by July 2013, with final project completion by the spring of 2014.
The Air Force Cycling Classic will bring exciting races and extensive road closures to Arlington over the weekend.
The nationally-recognized pro cycling event will kick off early in Clarendon on Saturday, then head to Crystal City on Sunday. Here’s the official schedule:
- Saturday, June 11 (Clarendon)
- 8:00 a.m. — Amateur races (for licensed riders)
- 10:05 a.m. — Women’s Pro/Am race
- 11:35 a.m. — Kids race
- 12:00 p.m. — Clarendon Cup Pro/Am Invitational
- Sunday, June 12 (Crystal City)
- 7:30 a.m. — Crystal Ride (open to all, registration ends Friday)
- 11:15 a.m. — Kids races
- 11:35 a.m. — Crystal Cup Pro/Am Invitational
- 1:25 p.m. — Women’s Pro/Am race
- 2:30 p.m. — Amateur race (for licensed riders)
The races will result in a long list of road closures. See the list, after the jump.
It’s so hot today even dogs are doing their best to stay cool.
As of 2:00 p.m. the temperature has reached a scorching 98 degrees. With a heat advisory in effect, outdoor events are being canceled and residents are being urged to stay inside.
Just before lunch time we stopped by Shirlington to see how folks were coping with the heat and humidity. At the dog park, humans stayed in the shade, watching the dogs get some exercise before quickly tiring out and retreating to the water bowls.
On the path that runs along Four Mile Run, a pair of young kids in strollers had their own mini umbrellas to beat the heat. Meanwhile, in Shirlington Village, we could only find two souls brave enough to take advantage of the strip’s copious sidewalk seating.
“Alfonso has been a leader on environmental issues that have been my passion in Richmond,” Whipple said in a statement. “[He] has a long record of fighting for our community and has the depth of knowledge on the issues that will make him an effective representative for the 49th District.”
Lopez, formerly an assistant administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Stephanie Clifford, formerly an events coordinator at the Podesta Group lobbying firm, will be facing off in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary for Virginia’s 49th District, which consists of parts of north and south Arlington.
Lopez has been endorsed by Arlington County Board Chair Chris Zimmerman, Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur, Arlington County School Board member Emma Violand Sanchez and former Virginia Lt. Gov. candidate Jody Wagner. Clifford has been endorsed by Arlington Commissioner of the Revenue Ingrid Morroy, Arlington Treasurer Frank O’Leary, former Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair Peter Rousselot and former U.S. Congresswoman Leslie Bryne.
Due to today’s heat advisory, two local farmers markets have been nixed.
The sweltering temperatures have prompted organizers of both the Ballston Farmers Market — held every Thursday in Welburn Square — and the Rosslyn Farmers Market — held Thursdays at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and N. Oak Street — to cancel.
Temperatures are expected to come close to the 100 degree mark today.
The video is long (nearly an hour) and the audio is low, but the county’s television channel has posted a video of an fascinating panel discussion on this history of rock and roll in Northern Virginia.
Featured in the video are five men who promoted local concerts in the ’60s and 70s: Derwood Settles, Teddy Bodnar, Michael Oberman, Mike Schreibman, and Bud Becker. The discussion, organized by cultural historian Jeff Krulik, was held in the Artisphere in November.
Now that Groupon appears poised to conduct a $1 billion initial public offering that will value the company at $20 billion, some have been questioning whether Groupon and other ‘daily deals’ web sites (like Living Social) are actually worthwhile for the businesses that offer the deals.
While consumers only see the great money-saving bargains — for instance, $40 worth of food at a local restaurant for $20 — merchants have to accept that running a Groupon-type deal is probably going to be a money-losing proposition in the short term. Since Groupon typically gives merchants 50 percent of its deal revenue, that means that Joe’s Restaurant is only receiving $10 for giving away $40 worth of food. Low-margin businesses like restaurants will often lose money on that — and the losses will add up, since Groupon can sell hundreds or even thousands of coupons at a time.
The silver lining for businesses that use Groupon — and the entire premise of ‘daily deals’ in general — is customer acquisition. The idea is that by getting a whole bunch of people to try your food (if you’re a restaurant) or services (if you’re, say, a yoga instructor) you can get a certain percentage of those deal purchasers to come back later and pay full price.
Very generally, businesses need about 10 percent to return to turn a money-losing deal into a money-making deal. But does that actually happen? The question is especially pertinent in Arlington, where lots of businesses have been trying out daily deals and where customers can simply jump from deal to deal, if they really wanted to.
If you’ve ever bought a daily deal (for a business you were not already patronizing) have you at some point returned to that business and paid full price?
Update at 10:30 a.m. –VDOT has issued a correction, saying that the 400 block of Chain Bridge Road, not the bridge itself, will be closed.
Chain Bridge The 400 block of Chain Bridge Road will be closed for part of the day today.
Tree work will force the
bridge road to close from about 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., DDOT said on its Twitter account this morning. A VDOT official confirmed the closure.
“Our crews need to remove a tree that is in danger of falling into the roadway,” said VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris. “The closure is from 9:30 a.m. till 2:30 p.m. We hope to reopen the road sooner than that if the removal goes well.”
The work brings back memories of last year’s bridge rehabilitation project, which forced the closure of the bridge on several occasions.
Morris says signs warning about today’s closure have been up for five days. A detour is posted, she said.
Wakefield Groundbreaking Today — At 9:30 this morning Arlington Public Schools officials will hold a groundbreaking for the new, $116 million Wakefield High School. Construction on the school is expected to begin next month and wrap up by fall 2013.
Planetarium Group Nears Fundraising Goal — The Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium group has raised more than $350,000 to renovate the aging David M. Brown Planetarium, which supporters helped to save from being mothballed by the school system. The Friends were given the goal of raising $402,800 by June 30, but observers expect that the current haul — plus the haul from one final fundraiser — will be “close enough.” [Sun Gazette]
Crystal City Profiled — “Once considered an area to work but not play, Crystal City has blossomed into a hub of activity for residents and tourists. With roughly 11,000 residents, 5,600 hotel rooms and a number of tallish buildings, the community often has the feel of a bustling city,” says the D.C. Examiner. The paper’s profile of Crystal City credits part of its new-found bustle on the neighborhood’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene. [Washington Examiner]