On Thursday, the Arlington School Board unanimously approved the conceptual design of the new elementary school to be built on the Williamsburg Middle School campus in north Arlington.
The 93,578 square foot school will include 28 classrooms, a gymnasium, library, art room, media center, innovation lab, dining room and green roofs. It has a projected capacity of 630 students, to help address the capacity crunch at Arlington Public Schools.
The school will cost about $35 million to build, 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.
The Williamsburg elementary school is one of five elementary school building projects approved in the latest APS capital improvement plan. On Feb. 21, the School Board is expected to vote on the conceptual design for an addition to Ashlawn Elementary School.
Some residents in nearby McLean have expressed concern about traffic impacts from the new school.
The hearing will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the VDOT Arlington headquarters at 1426 Columbia Pike. The project manager, Edwin Woo, is also soliciting comments via email for the next three weeks.
The bridge, which was built in 1941 and carries 3 lanes of traffic in each direction, is structurally deficient, according to VDOT. The replacement will be widened by 9 feet, to 105 feet, to accommodate an 14-foot shared use path and an 8-foot sidewalk on either side of the bridge — an improvement over the existing, narrow concrete sidewalks.
The bridge will also be lengthened, to 485 feet, and will also allow a slightly higher clearance: 16 feet 6 inches compared to 15 feet 4 inches. It will still carry three vehicle travel lanes in each direction.
Construction on the $20 million project is tentatively expected to start in 2014 and wrap up in 2015. At least two traffic lanes will be maintained on Washington Boulevard and Route 110 during the duration of the project, with the exception of some temporary nighttime closures, according to VDOT.
The bridge carries more than 100,000 vehicles per day, VDOT figures suggest.
Construction is underway on two residential buildings near the Courthouse Metro station.
“19Nineteen Clarendon” is a new 200-unit luxury apartment building that, despite the latter half of its name, will be located at 1900 Wilson Blvd in the Courthouse area. It replaces what was formerly a Hollywood Video store and a small office building.
The new building’s ground floor in now in place and the remainder of the structure’s five stories will soon follow. According to the 19Nineteen Clarendon web site, the building is expected to open this summer.
Just up the street, on the same “superblock,” a construction pit marks the future location of “2001 Clarendon.” Also known as “Washington View,” the project features 154 residential units — planned as condos — and 32,840 square feet of retail space.
As part of the project, the developer will construct an extension of N. Troy Street between Clarendon and Wilson Boulevards, thus breaking up the superblock between Courthouse Road and Rhodes Street.
Delayed by “unexpected issues,” the first of the Columbia Pike “Super Stops” is finally expected to wrap up construction next month.
The new deluxe bus stop in front of the Rite Aid at the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive will offer shelter to 10-15 passengers with seating and lighting, real time electronic schedule information and other enhancements. It’s one of 24 planned Super Stops on the Pike.
“The Walter Reed Super Stop is the prototype for this project and the first bus stop of its kind in the region,” said project representative Corey Cranmer. “Given that, there have been a number of unexpected issues regarding construction and new materials that we have had to work through with WMATA during the project.”
Cranmer said the stop is “slated for completion in late February.” This spring, crews are expected to start work on the “Barton West” stop near Penrose Square. Construction on a pair of stops at Columbus and Dinwiddie Street will start at some point after July 1, following the completion of road work in the area.
Although the overdue project to revamp the Clarendon Metro Plaza is expected to be completed this month, there’s a request for the County Board to approve funding for additional improvements.
In May, the Board approved a contract worth more than $760,000 to the Fort Myer Construction Company. The project involved improving the area around the Clarendon Metro station and part of the nearby park with new landscaping, irrigation, seating and ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps. The construction was originally estimated to be finished before Clarendon Day in September, but the expected completion is now sometime this month.
The already approved upgrades end near the center of Clarendon Central Park near the Metro elevator. The new funding request is for more than $197,000 to allow Fort Myer Construction to begin improvements on the western part of the plaza. The county staff report states that not continuing westward with the construction “would create a disjointed appearance to the park.” It further states the contract extension “will allow the entire Clarendon Central Park to be visually unified while bringing the west end of the park into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.”
The main improvements to the west end would be to replace existing pavers with ADA-compliant, smooth rolling concrete surface pavers that will match those on the east end. The war monument at the far west end would not be affected, but the area surrounding it would be re-worked. The paved area approaching the monument would be flattened to improve accessibility, and a mulched bed would be installed around two existing trees. Additionally, the proposed project would replace existing curb ramps and benches, and upgrade the irrigation system.
County staff said approving the additional funding now would allow Fort Myer Construction to begin the next phase of improvements immediately after completing the improvements already underway. That would cut down on costs due to the contractor’s materials and equipment already being on site.
Staff members recommend the County Board approves the funding and contract extension at its meeting tomorrow (Saturday).
The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to approve a contract for improvements to Ft. Myer Heights Park (1400 Ft. Myer Drive).
The planned improvements to the 0.48 acre park include new nature-themed playground equipment, new fencing, an accessible path to the playground from Ft. Myer Drive, concrete retaining walls, enhanced plantings and improved site drainage. The construction contract, in the amount of $475,920.53 plus a $47,592.04 contingency, will be awarded to Avon Corporation.
The existing park consists of a small playground area, basketball court, picnic area and open grassy field. The park improvements were devised with the help of input from the community, including the Radnor / Fort Myer Heights Civic Association.
Images via Arlington County
Arlington Mill Goes Over Budget — The Arlington Mill Community Center on Columbia Pike has gone $600,000 over its $31.6 million budget. The County Board is expected to approve additional funding for the project at its meeting this coming Saturday. [Sun Gazette]
New Coworking Space in Clarendon — A new coworking space has opened at 3140 N. Washington Street in Clarendon, on the second floor of the Wells Fargo bank building. Link Locale will house startup companies, entrepreneurs, freelancers and teleworkers. It’s the second coworking space to open along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor this year. [Patch]
Redskins Player to Sign Autographs in Clarendon — Washington Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen will sign autographs and take photos with fans tonight at the AT&T Store in Clarendon (3000 Wilson Blvd). The appearance will take place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The incident happened around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24. According to police, the cyclist was stopped at a temporary red light next to a construction site on Quincy Street near Wilson Boulevard, when an unoccupied dump truck started rolling south on Quincy and struck him.
The man was knocked to the ground and one of the truck’s tires ran over his head, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The man was wearing a helmet at the time and the helmet likely saved his life. He was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital’s trauma center with non-life-threatening injuries, Sternbeck said.
Immediately after the incident the driver of the dump truck, who had left it running and unattended next to the construction site, ran it down and managed to stop it from rolling further, according to Sternbeck. Occupational safety officials responded to the scene, inspected the truck and found multiple safety violations, he said.
Citations were issued and the truck was “taken out of service.” No word on whether any other charges are pending.
A ribbon cutting ceremony has been scheduled to celebrate the completion of the new Glebe Road bridge over Route 50.
The event will be held Wednesday morning near Thomas Jefferson Middle School, just to the southeast side of the 100-foot-long bridge. Among those expected to ribbon cutting are County Board Chair Mary Hynes, state Sen. Barbara Favola, Del. Patrick Hope, and officials from VDOT, which oversaw the project.
The $6 million project replaced the once crumbling bridge with a wider, more structurally-sound span. Construction began last summer and is expected to wrap up today. The project resulted in frequent lane closures on Glebe Road which often backed up traffic in the area.
The new bridge features a northbound turn lane onto Route 50, a 17-foot shared use path and 11-foot sidewalk on either side of the span, decorative green wrought-iron fencing and new LED lighting.
As part of its plan to reduce school overcrowding, APS is planning a new 90,000 square foot, 3-4 story, 600 seat neighborhood elementary school on the Williamsburg campus. The school is projected to cost $35 million to build and construction should last from Jan. 2014 to Summer 2015.
Toole Design Group, a transportation consultant hired by Arlington Public Schools, will present the results of a Traffic Impact Study at a community meeting scheduled from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at the Williamsburg Middle School auditorium. The meeting is open to the public.
The consultant is also working on parking issues related to the new school and the proposed expansion of Williamsburg Middle School itself. The changes may result in 570 additional parking spaces on the site, according to a recent community presentation.
Committee Debates Aquatics Center — Arlington’s Committee of 100 debated the merits of the planned $79 million Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center last night. A park bond that would help fund the center is on the Nov. 6 ballot. [Sun Gazette]
Marymount University and Diversity — WUSA 9′s Peggy Fox profiles Marymount University, which she says is one of the “most diverse regional universities” despite a “race blind” admissions process. Instead of considering race during the admissions process, the university instead actively encourages minority students to apply. The U.S. Supreme Court will soon consider a case that challenges the legality of affirmative action, which allows race and ethnicity to be considered in school admissions processes. [WUSA 9]
Construction at Hayes Park — Due to construction behind the tennis courts at Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street), the park’s parking lot will be closed from 7:00 a.m. today to about 2:00 p.m. [Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association]
The first of 24 planned enhanced transit stops along Columbia Pike is less than a month away from opening.
On Sept. 19, a canopy was installed at the prototype “Super Stop” near the intersection of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive, in front of the Rite Aid pharmacy. When the stop is finished — it’s currently slated to open in late October — the stop will feature lighting, maps, screens with real time bus arrival information, heating and shelter for 10-15 passengers.
The Walter Reed Drive stop is one of four Super Stop locations selected for a pilot program. Other Columbia Pike Super Stops that are part of the pilot program are: Columbus Street, Dinwiddie Street and Barton Street. Together, the four stops serve more than 2,000 passengers per day, according to Arlington County.
Other future Super Stop locations include the former Navy Annex, Courthouse Road, Glebe Road, Monroe Street, George Mason Drive, Taylor Street, Buchanan Street and Greenbrier Street.
The video above, produced by Arlington County, shows the installation of the new canopy at the Walter Reed Drive stop.
At 24 stories and 719,704 square feet, the building — 1900 Crystal Drive — will be second only to the Pentagon in Arlington in terms of floor space.
(Alhough 1900 Crystal Drive will be the tallest in Crystal City, the 580,000 square foot, 35-story office building currently under construction at 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn is still expected to be the tallest countywide.)
The building includes 11,290 square feet of ground floor retail space, plus a five-level, 732 space parking garage and nearly 150 bicycle parking spaces. Vehicle parking will be available to the public on weekends, holidays and after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. Some residents expressed concern about extra vehicular traffic as a result of the building, but it won approval from the county’s Transportation Commission by a vote of 9-0.
Vornado, the developer of 1900 Crystal Drive, agreed to a number of community benefits in exchange for the extra zoning density required for the project. Among the benefits:
- $3 million contribution to the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund
- $75,000 contribution to the county’s public art fund
- $154,000 for Arlington utility fund, $20,000 for multi-space parking meters
- Various improvements to 18th Street S.
- $1.4 million for Arlington County Commuter Services and $65 Metro SmartTrip cards for building employees (to encourage transit commuting)
- $2.76 million for a temporary half-acre park
- $2.56 million for a four-pipe hydronic heating and cooling system, part of the county’s plan to encourage a district energy system for Crystal City
Though resident concerns about the building were largely assuaged, thanks to the addition of low-reflection glass and a 900 square foot community meeting room, Board member Chris Zimmerman voted against the project. (It passed 4-1.)
Zimmerman said that the community benefits associated with the project were relatively small for a building of its size, but ultimately his ‘no’ vote came down to his view that the building’s site plan does not pave a sure-fire path to the construction of a proposed, adjacent “Center Park.” Instead, the site plan just requires Vornado to work with county staff “to prepare an implementation plan for guiding the achievement of Center Park.”
The new, under-construction Arlington Mill Community Center recently celebrated its “topping out” — the moment when the last beam is placed at the top of a building.
The complex, which is expected to open in the summer of 2013, will include a community center, senior center, gymnasium, parking garage and an affordable housing development. Arlington County’s “Arlington TV” crew produced a video about the topping out ceremony, above.
The Board will consider a $573,000 contract to build a new “sprayground” at Virginia Highlands Park, at 1600 S. Hayes Street near Pentagon City. The park was originally scheduled to open this past Memorial Day, but the project has been beset by delays. According to the staff report, the project was finally put out for bid in May, only to have the bids from contractors all came in higher than expected.
The sprayground was redesigned in order to put it within budget. A new water re-circulation system, which should save 113,000 gallons of water per week, was put into place. The sprayground was also reduced in scale, and certain features like a steel fence and a designed rock structure were eliminated.
The Board will vote on whether to award a $521,000 contract contract with a $52,000 contingency to Southern Playground Corporation.
Planning for playground upgrades to the park began all the way back in 2004. Construction was finally set to get underway in 2008 — following a plan to enhance amenities at the park while removing an existing restroom — when the Nauck Civic Association request that all work on the project stop, so that the park could be redesigned in a way that would keep the restroom. In order to keep the project within budget, the county scaled down other planned amenities within the park.
On Saturday, the Board is scheduled to consider a $316,000 contract — $287,000 plus a $29,000 contingency — with Avon Corporation. The contract covers renovations to the playground and the bathroom, as well as accessible entrances, an accessible picnic area, benches and bicycle racks.