Construction issues will delay the anticipated “late spring” reopening of Clarendon’s James Hunter Park until summer.
According to Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, a number of unforeseen conditions turned up during construction at the dog park site on the corner of N. Herndon Street and N. 13th Street. Some of the problems include difficult soils, grading issues and the discovery of “buried structures.” Kalish said although such issues are not unheard of, they will push the expected park completion date into July.
“This is not unusual at an urban site and we were able to make adjustments to ensure the park will be a great place for the community to gather,” she said.
Workers will spend the next several weeks installing site furnishings and landscaping.
“This space should look more and more like a park by the middle of June,” said Kalish.
Despite the delay, the $1.6 million renovation project remains on budget.
A new columbarium has opened at Arlington National Cemetery, just in time for Memorial Day.
Columbarium Court No. 9, as it’s called, has more than 20,000 niches for U.S. military veterans and their families. Each niche in the two-acre columbarium has space for 3-4 urns. The project cost $15.6 million and began in January 2012.
A dedication ceremony was held for the columbarium earlier this month. The ceremony included the burial of the unclaimed remains of six war veterans from the Civil War, the Vietnam War and World Wars I and II.
Columbarium Court No. 9 is 2.5 times bigger than the cemetery’s next-largest columbarium. Rockville-based contractor Forrester Construction, which built the new facility, described its construction in a press release.
This project, awarded to Forrester by the US Army Corps of Engineers, required near perfect quality and pristine finishes ensuring longevity and suitability in the greenscape of Arlington National Cemetery. It involved significant grading, landscaping, environmental management and installation of decorative and commemorative stonework, including flagstone walkways.
Columbarium Court No. 9 is nearly the length of two football fields at 116-feet wide, 11-feet tall and 540-feet long. The foundation of the structure is auger cast piles ranging in depth from 15 to 25 feet. More than 6,000 cubic yards of poured-in-place concrete clad with limestone and granite was used to build the structure. The project features interior and exterior landscaping with a central water fountain, new irrigation and underground electrical systems and storm water management.
The project was completed three months ahead of schedule and, according to Forrester, under budget.
The columbarium will help extend Arlington National Cemetery’s effective life as a final resting place for the country’s war dead. While the cemetery will always remain open to the public, it will eventually run out of space for new burials.
“Without the Columbarium Court No. 9 expansion, Arlington National Cemetery would have run out of niche space in 2016,” said Kathryn A. Condon, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries. “By adding more than 20,000 niche spaces for our veterans and their families, Columbarium Court No. 9 is extending the life of the cemetery for years to come.”
Some local residents are fighting another effort to add new burial spaces at the cemetery. Arlington National Cemetery’s Millennium Project will include a new columbarium and additional in-ground burial spaces — for up to 30,000 military veterans and their families — but will also result in the loss of about 800 older trees.
Photos courtesy Forrester Construction and U.S. Army
(Updated at 5:00 p.m.) The Arlington School Board approved new elementary school boundaries Thursday night, wrapping up an eight month community process.
The School Board unanimously adopted “Variation B” of Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy’s recommended boundaries (left). The new boundaries will help distribute students to a new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus (see below) as well as to additions at Ashlawn and McKinley elementary schools.
The new schools and additions (there will also be a new choice elementary school near Kenmore Middle School and an addition to Arlington Traditional School) are being undertaken to provide an additional 1,875 seats of capacity by 2017 for Arlington burgeoning student population.
“Variation B” will shift elementary school boundaries and result in the reassignment of 900 students. The changes will take effect for the 2015-2016 school year.
- Reassign 67 students from McKinley to Ashlawn
- Reassign 56 students from Glebe to McKinley
- Reassign 164 students from Jamestown to the new school at Williamsburg
- Reassign 71 students from Taylor to Jamestown
- Reassign 347 students from Nottigham to the new school at Williamsburg
- Reassign 146 students from Tuckahoe to Nottingham
- Reassign 49 students from Taylor to the new school at Williamsburg
The School Board also approved the following grandfathering provisions:
- “Rising 5th graders and concurrently enrolled younger siblings (grades K-4 as of June 2015) may choose to remain at their current school for the 2015-16 school year only. Transportation will be provided for these students who remain at their school and who are eligible for bus transportation as of September 2015.”
- “Because the effective date of students moving to McKinley is September 2016, grandfathering for rising 5th graders and concurrently enrolled younger siblings (grades K-4 as of June 2016) will be in effect for the 2016-17 school year and will follow the procedures in paragraph a.”
- “A student currently attending Claremont or Key Immersion School, in grades K-4 as of June 2015, who resides in a planning unit being moved from one Immersion School group to another Immersion School group, may remain at his or her current Immersion School through 5th grade with transportation provided by APS.”
- “A student currently attending Arlington Science Focus in grades K-4 as of June 2015, who resides in a planning unit being moved to the New Elementary School #1, may remain at ASFS through 5th grade with transportation provided by APS.”
The School Board also directed Dr. Murphy “to recommend whether rising K-4 students residing in planning units reassigned to existing schools will be eligible to enroll in their newly assigned elementary school prior to School Year 2015 if seating space is available.”
On Saturday, the County Board will consider a use permit for a 26,160 square foot addition to Ashlawn Elementary School.
Construction on the addition is expected to begin this summer and wrap up by the summer of 2014. It will add 12 rooms, including 9 classrooms, at a cost of about $12 million, according to a project web page.
Meanwhile, at its Thursday meeting, the School Board unanimously approved a schematic design for the new elementary school on the Williamsburg Middle School campus.
The new school will cost just over $43 million, according to an APS press release, with construction slated to start in January 2014 and wrap up in time for the start of the school year in the summer of 2015.
In September, the county is expected to award a design/build contract for a new elevator that will run directly into the station from the southwestern corner of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street, near the Pentagon City mall.
The elevator will complement an existing elevator on the southeast corner of the intersection.
About 95 percent of the $5 million project will be funded with state and federal funds. The county is hoping that the elevator will be open by Nov. 2014.
Also this year, the county is hoping to award a contract to refurbish and reopen an abandoned pedestrian tunnel that connects the northeast corner of the Hayes/12th intersection to the Metro station’s mezzanine.
The county is hoping to finalize the design of the refurbished tunnel — the design process has been on-going for nearly a decade — and to put the project out for bid by the end of the year.
The tunnel could reopen by the winter of 2014.
Arlington County Transportation Director Dennis Leach suggested that the project has been made more complicated thanks to the tunnel’s proximity to the headquarters of the Transportation Security Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“We’re still working through a few remaining design issues and we have to conclude some property-related negotiations,” he said. “It is a very complicated small project. That tunnel was built as part of a site plan development. We have to work with the adjacent property owner and the adjacent tenants.”
With nearly 35,000 combined entries and exits on an average weekday, the Pentagon City Metro station is the second-busiest Metro station in Arlington — second only to Rosslyn.
Bike to Work Day Tomorrow — More than 12,000 bicyclists around the Washington region are expected to participate in Bike to Work Day tomorrow (Friday). Arlington will host four Bike to Work Day pit stops – in Rosslyn (6:30 to 9:00 a.m.), Ballston (6:30 to 9:00 a.m.), Crystal City (7:00 to 9:00 a.m.) and East Falls Church (4:00 to 7:00 p.m.). The annual event is free but attendees are encouraged to register.
Rosslyn Metro Project 85 Percent Complete – The new Rosslyn Metro entrance is over 85 percent complete, Arlington County announced this morning. The $32.6 million project will add a new entrance to the Rosslyn Metro station, featuring three high-speed elevators and an emergency staircase, but no escalators. With the elevator shaft and the emergency stairwell complete, the next step is installing the high-speed elevators.
Tiny Apartments: Solution to Rising Rents? — The average monthly rent for an apartment in Arlington was $1,999 in 2012, a 13 percent jump from one year prior. A recent forum sponsored by the Arlington-based Alliance for Housing Solutions suggested that one solution to rising rents could be smaller apartments. Specifically, the forum focused on sub-400 square foot apartments known as “micro-units.” [Sun Gazette]
Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour on Saturday — The 13th annual Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour will be held on Saturday from noon to 5:00 p.m. The line-up this year includes seven new and renovated homes and two gardens. Tickets for the event, which raises money for the Tuckahoe Elementary Discovery Schoolyard, are $20-25. [Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour]
GU May Rent Rosslyn Apartments for Students — Georgetown University is considering renting units in the brand new Slate apartment building in Rosslyn in order to house graduate students. The Slate building, developed by JBG and located on the 1500 block of Clarendon Blvd, has 203 apartment units. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
The new Washington-Lee High School softball field will open for its first game on Monday.
The $1 million field, under construction since last summer, is located on the corner of Washington Blvd and N. Quincy Street. It was built after parents of softball players threatened to file a Title IX complaint if the school system did not upgrade the no-frills field they were using at the time to include the same amenities of the boys baseball field.
The new softball field has “seating for 280 people, lighting, a press box and a removable fence so that the space can serve multiple uses,” according to Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia.
Central Library Renovations — Updated at 9:25 a.m. — A number of renovations are in progress at Arlington Central Library. The changes include new carpeting, structural maintenance and a new Digital Projects Lab. The library will remain open during the renovations, but certain parts will be closed, including the parking garage, which is expected to be closed from May 6-10. [Arlington Public Library]
Term Limits for County Board? — In a letter to the editor, one resident argues that term limits for Arlington County Board members may “change Arlington’s oligarchy for the better.” The resident suggests implementing term limits via referendum. [Sun Gazette]
Rosslyn Crane Operator Profiled — It takes 45-60 minutes for the crane operator on the 1812 N. Moore Street skyscraper project in Rosslyn to climb up to the crane’s cab. The operator, 66-year-old Mike Teague of Thurmont, Md., arrives at the job site at 4:30 a.m. and doesn’t leave until 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. [Rosslyn Magazine, Ode Street Tribune]
New Play, Venue for Theater Company — Recently booted from the Artisphere, Arlington-based theater company WSC Avant Bard is performing the play “No Man’s Land” at Theatre on the Run (3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive). The performance runs through May 25. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by @ddimick
The county’s BikeArlington program posted the following photo of one of the shelters on Facebook.
“The temporary rack assembly shown here will be replaced this week with 12 permanent racks,” BikeArlington said. “The two bike shelters are designed to accommodate 12 racks each, which together will provide cover for up to 48 bikes.”
“The Clarendon shelters are identical to Arlington’s two existing bike shelters. The first was located at the Shirlington bus station. The second recently opened at the Pentagon City metro station. An air pump and repair stand with basic tools will also be installed at all three bike shelter locations sometime this summer.”
The new bike shelters are part of the larger Clarendon Metro Plaza project, which has resulted in new paving, seating, lighting, landscaping and newspaper racks outside the Metro station. Construction on the project is expected to wrap up this spring and summer.
Photo via Facebook
A plywood perimeter has been erected around the plaza at Pentagon Row as heavy construction has gotten underway on a major renovation project
A backhoe and other construction equipment being used to excavate the center of the plaza. So far outdoor restaurant seating has remained open at the plaza, but instead of overlooking the center courtyard, the view from the outdoor patios is blocked by plywood boards around the construction. Today, those board were being painted black.
As reported earlier this month, the renovations include an expanded ice rink during the winter, a turf lawn during the summer, revamped outdoor dining areas, 1,500 square feet of new retail and dining space, lighted water fountains and a stone fire pit.
Construction is expected to wrap up this fall, according to Pentagon Row owner Federal Realty Investment Trust.
The $39 million Route 50/Courthouse Road/10th Street interchange project is apparently running behind schedule.
The project was originally slated for completion this fall but, in a new county-produced video, Greg Emanuel, Director of Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services, says the project is now slated to be complete by the summer of 2014.
“It’s a multi-phased project,” Emanuel said in the video (above.) “It takes some time, because while it’s going on we need to maintain traffic.”
Arlington is contributing $1 million to the $39 million cost of the VDOT-led project. Construction started in April 2011. Recent work includes a realignment of the ramp from Courthouse Road to westbound Route 50, and the January demolition of the bridge from eastbound Route 50 to Courthouse Road.
The Courthouse Road bridge, and the 10th Street bridge that was torn down last year, were both originally built in 1954. No word yet on when they’ll be rebuilt, given the change in the project timeline.
Emanuel says the project will make the interchange safer and will help traffic flow more smoothly.
“Right now traffic is kind of complicated at these intersections,” he said. “This is going to provide new acceleration and deceleration lanes, and make it much safer for the traveling public that’s coming on and off these intersections.”
So far representatives from VDOT and DES have not responded to a request for comment.
Although at one time the project was slated to be finished last month, the Clarendon dog park renovations are still ongoing. Now we’re hearing that the revamp of James Hunter Park could take another couple of months.
According to Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, the new goal is for a late spring reopening. The current delay is on top of setbacks during the planning process, which prevented the renovations from being finished last summer as originally planned.
Last May, the County Board approved a contract worth more than $1.6 million to renovate the park, which sits at the corner of N. Herndon Street and N. 13th Street.
The revamp plan emphasizes several sustainable and “green” features, such the use of recycled materials and an automated water management system that will capture and reuse rain water. The water will be stored in an underground unit and will be used for onsite landscaping irrigation. The park will also have a system to collect and use solar energy. The irrigation pumps, for example, will be run by solar power.
The final design for the park shows a plaza terrace with an open lawn area, gardens, a canine area, pedestrian areas, picnic areas and public art.
Now that a prototype has been built, and now that Arlington will be replacing WMATA as the project manager, the Columbia Pike Super Stop project should proceed in a much quicker, smoother and more cost-efficient manner, county officials said Tuesday.
The project will ultimately construct a network of 24 enhanced “Super Stop” bus stops along Columbia Pike, featuring real-time bus arrival screens, lighting, heating and a modern design. Arlington County officials briefed the County Board on the status of the project at its meeting yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, following a minor public outcry about the over $1 million construction cost of the first stop.
(The county funded just over $200,000 of the construction budget, with the rest coming from state and federal sources.)
“This is perhaps the first of its type in the Commonwealth,” Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach said of the newly-completed Super Stop, at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive. “In any new endeavor, you end up paying more in soft costs for the prototype. When you actually get the efficiency is… when you refine it and go out replicate the facilities.”
“This was a project that was a partnership between Arlington and WMATA,” he said. “Moving forward we are going to make a shift where these are going to be Arlington-managed construction projects. We hope to dramatically reduce the construction time, and we have already fine tuned the design… to make it easier to construct in the future.”
County Board member Chris Zimmerman said WMATA’s ability to run construction projects has been reduced over the past few years.
“Its capacity having been greatly diminished undoubtedly affected their ability to deal with a small project like this one,” he said.
Zimmerman said he believes the project is on track. Crews are expected to begin work this spring on a “Barton West” Super Stop near Penrose Square, followed by work on new stops at Columbus and Dinwiddie Streets later this summer.
“I’m a lot more confident going forward that we’ll be able to deliver these things on a reasonable basis in terms of time, budget and schedule,” he said.
Libby Garvey, a critic of the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar system (which will utilize the new stops, when built), asked a few tough questions about the project. She said she was still awaiting a breakdown of the costs of the project, and was skeptical that the open-air design would serve riders in bad weather.
“I did see the stop and it’s pretty, but I was struck by the fact that if it’s pouring rain i’m going to get wet, and if it’s cold the wind is going to be blowing on me,” she said. “It doesn’t seem to be much of a shelter.”
Zimmerman suggested there might be room for refining the design to provide more shelter in the rain, but said he was otherwise pleased with the distinctive design — which, he reminded the room, was chosen during a public process, with extensive input from residents.
“I personally think they’re extremely attractive,” he said. “Part of making people confident and comfortable using transit is creating places that they feel like they want to be, even in the dark.”
On Friday, 1812 N. Moore Street, a new skyscraper in Rosslyn that will be the tallest building in the D.C. metro area, hosted a ceremony to mark the construction of the structure’s top floor.
Executives and employees from developer Monday Properties, builder Clark Construction and designer Davis Carter Scott donned hard hats and vests to celebrate on an upper floor of the building, which is still under construction. Construction workers joined the guests in enjoying a catered buffet and speeches from company officials.
At 35 stories and 390 feet, the building will be the tallest in the D.C. area. Prefabricated pieces of the decorative “top” of the building are still under construction in Maryland and are expected to be hoisted into place in May.
The gleaming glass-and-steel tower, with 580,000 square feet of total floor space, is being built to LEED Platinum sustainability specifications. It will have a 480-space parking garage and on-site access to the Rosslyn Metro station.
In a statement to ARLnow.com, Monday Properties CEO Anthony Westreich called the topping out a “significant milestone.”
“We have reached a significant milestone in our vision to build the tallest and most efficient building in the region,” Westreich said. “1812 North Moore Street will set the new standard for office development. I thank Arlington County for encouraging the development of Rosslyn into a highly competitive submarket and offer my congratulations to the more than 250 workers from Clark Construction who have given their all to this project.”
Architect Douglas Carter, of Davis Carter Scott, says his firm set out to design the most ”the most iconic building that we could create.” He said he hopes the building proves to have a ”timeless design,” like that of the main terminal of Dulles International Airport.
So far, no tenants have been announced for the $345 million building, though Monday Properties says they’re in talks with potential “anchor tenants.” Built on “spec,” the building represents a huge bet on Rosslyn as a location for high-end office space.
At least one other company is now getting in on the bet. Monday announced earlier this month that it had closed on a $200 million construction loan from Pacific Life Insurance Company.
Construction is expected to wrap up in September. The building had its groundbreaking ceremony in October 2010.
A new bus stop on Columbia Pike cost more than $1 million to build, according to a county spokeswoman.
The new prototype “Super Stop” at the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive cost $575,000 for construction and fabrication and $440,000 for construction management and special inspections, according to Arlington County Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel.
Of the $1 million cost, just over $200,000 was paid for by the county, with the rest coming from VDOT, Whalen McDaniel said.
Much of the hefty cost can be attributed to the fact that the enhanced bus stop was a prototype for what will eventually be a network of 24 “Super Stops” up and down Columbia Pike, according to Whalen McDaniel. The stops will serve the future Columbia Pike streetcar system.
“Since this stop is the first of its kind, the cost is higher than your typical off-the-shelf bus shelter,” she said. “The costs will be greatly reduced with future stops moving forward, as the construction costs for this prototype included a number of first time design and set-up costs.”
“It’s too early to provide a cost estimate for the future stops, but it will be much less,” Whalen McDaniel said.
The Walter Reed stop features shelter for some 15 passengers, lighting, an electronic display that shows when the next buses are coming, and a number of unbranded newspaper boxes. It opened last week after nearly a year and a half of on-again, off-again construction activity.
Crews are expected to begin work this spring on a “Barton West” Super Stop near Penrose Square, followed by work on new stops at Columbus and Dinwiddie Streets later this summer.
The first of 24 planned “Super Stop” bus stops on Columbia Pike opened this morning.
The stop, on Columbia Pike at the intersection with Walter Reed Drive, offers riders a brighter, more open and attractive take on the traditional sheltered bus stop. The stop features lighting, an electronic display that shows when the next buses are coming, and a number of unbranded newspaper boxes (not yet filled).
At any given time some 15 passengers can use the stop, which serves Metro 16 and ART 45 buses.
Completion of the stop was long delayed, hampered by “a number of unexpected issues regarding construction and new materials,” according to a project rep. The project was first approved in 2011.
Crews are expected to begin work this spring on a “Barton West” Super Stop near Penrose Square, followed by work on new stops at Columbus and Dinwiddie Streets later this summer.