(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) On Tuesday, five “relocatable classroom” trailers were placed on a field next to Washington-Lee High School and the Arlington Public Schools administrative offices. The trailers are part of a continuing effort to keep up with rising enrollment at county schools — an effort that may lead to new high school boundary changes.
The new trailers at Washington-Lee will be grouped together to form four classrooms, plus common spaces like bathrooms. They’re located in front of the W-L swimming pool, a short distance away from existing trailer classrooms at a nearby parking lot.
APS spent some $2.2 million to buy 20 additional relocatable classrooms this past fiscal year. The new FY 2014 budget, which is up for School Board approval Thursday night, is expected to include $1.9 million for 24 new trailers.
The trailers are necessary to deal with a burgeoning school population. Washington-Lee, which was renovated in 2009, is projected to be at 109.1 percent capacity next school year, with 2,023 students enrolled.
While new elementary schools and elementary school additions are on the way to relieve crowding, no such plans are in place at the high school level — only a vague commitment in the school system’s capital improvement plan to start adding permanent middle and high school capacity 5 years from now. In the meantime, that may portend high school boundary changes, since Arlington’s other high schools have some capacity to spare.
Yorktown High School, also recently renovated, was projected (as of Nov. 2012) to be at 97.5 percent capacity next school year, with 1,815 students. And the new Wakefield High School, expected to open in time for the new school year with space for more than 1,900 students, will only be at about 75 percent capacity with 1,460 students.
(The H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, a “choice” school without boundaries, is projected at 99.7 percent capacity with 389 high school students.)
Shifting students from Washington-Lee to Wakefield, should it come to pass, promises to be a contentious process, thanks in part to the big difference in regional school rankings (W-L ranked #10 and Wakefield ranked #62 according to the Washington Post “Challenge Index.) For now, however, APS says there’s no firm plan to change high school boundaries.
“The School Board has said that all boundaries need to be looked at in the coming years because projections continue to change,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia. “However there is no timetable as of yet.”
Shifting boundaries will not be a panacea, however. By the 2018-2019 school year, Wakefield is projected to be at 100 percent capacity, while Yorktown is projected to be at 122.4 percent of capacity and Washington-Lee at 137.9 percent capacity.
BMW in Fatal Crash Was Symbol of Father’s Success — The 2008 BMW M5 that 22-year-old Sami Ullah was driving the night of the crash in Rosslyn that killed him was a gift from his father, who had emigrated from Pakistan and worked as a dishwasher before eventually amassing a fortune from real estate investment. Police said Ullah was driving 90 miles per hour over the Key Bridge before the crash, something his family can’t quite comprehend. “He’d only drive fast on straightaways,” Ullah’s 27-year-old brother said. [Washington Post]
Board Reaffirms Plan for Long Bridge Park — The Arlington County Board reaffirmed its plan for Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City, at its meeting on Saturday. The plan includes the new Long Bridge Park Aquatics, Health & Fitness Facility, the construction of which is expected to begin late this year. “Our actions today move us closer to realizing the dream of transforming a former brown field into one of the region’s most dynamic parks, recreation and athletic facilities in one of its most beautiful natural settings,” said County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. [Arlington County]
Win for Wakefield ‘It’s Academic’ Team – Wakefield High School’s “It’s Academic” team picked up and will advance to a playoff match. The televised academic competition aired this past Saturday, March 16. [Sun Gazette]
Front Page Under New Management – The Front Page restaurant in Ballston is under new management. “We have been working hard to get the FPA back to the glory it’s longstanding tradition deserves,” the restaurant said on Facebook. “Please don’t judge us on past performance. Except for the loyal and exceptional bar and service staff all management is new.” [Facebook]
County: We’re Not Stopping Harris Teeter — Arlington County officials acknowledged on Saturday that they’ve been in private settlement talks with Harris Teeter over the incident that resulted in raw sewage flooding the S. Glebe Road store last year, forcing it to close indefinitely. Responding to a letters from residents, the county says they’re not preventing the still-closed store from reopening and are willing to help expedite the regulatory process, if Harris Teeter decides to reopen. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore
Wakefield Falls in State Semis — The Wakefield Warriors basketball team lost to John Marshall in the semifinal round of the state AAA tournament last night in Richmond. Wakefield fell 66-46, finishing the season with a 25-6 record. [Washington Post]
Lawmakers Name Biggest 2013 Achievement – Asked to name their biggest achievement in this past legislative session, the state lawmakers who represent Arlington cited an expansion of Medicaid, the new transportation funding plan, and affordable housing funding. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Students Win at Science Fair — Two Arlington high school students won the “Best in Fair Grand Prize” at the Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair over the weekend. They will now go on to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in May. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by J.D. Moore
‘Mussel Bar’ to Open in Ballston — Mussel Bar & Grille, from restauranteur Robert Wiedmaier, is set to open at 800 N. Glebe Road in Ballston this summer. The small gastropub chain has existing locations in Bethesda and Atlantic City. Wiedmaier is also known for BRABO in Old Town Alexandria and Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck in D.C. [Washington City Paper]
Deputy County Manager to Retire — Deputy County Manager Marsha Allgeier is planning to retire, and the county is now searching for her successor. Allgeier has worked for Arlington County since 1998. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Mom Survives Flesh-Eating Bacteria — An Arlington mom has survived a case of necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh-eating bacteria. Erin Smythers, a mother of three, developed the infection after getting a small cut on her finger. [WJLA]
Wakefield in State Semis Tonight — The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball team will face John Marshall in the state semifinals tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Update at 2:00 p.m.: The video will be streamed live online, via the Wakefield High School website. [Northern Va. Sports]
Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money
Wakefield, O’Connell Advance in Tournaments — In high school basketball news, last night the Wakefield Warriors defeated Mountain View 83-76 to advance to the state semifinals, to be played Monday night. Earlier this week the Bishop O’Connell Knights defeated St. John’s 58-53 to capture the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament championship. After a quarterfinal victory, DJO will now play in the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association Division I tournament semifinals tonight. [Washington Post, Sun Gazette]
Parents Upset With School Boundary Changes — At a meeting Wednesday night, numerous parents expressed displeasure with Arlington Public Schools’ proposed elementary boundary changes. The changes are necessary due to overcrowding and the upcoming addition of a new elementary school. [Patch]
County Event to Highlight Intellectual Disabilities — On Tuesday morning, Arlington County will hold an “awards program and proclamation ceremony establishing Including People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Month as March 2013″ The county says it “is committed to empowering and supporting persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve healthy self-determined lifestyles through community-based education, living arrangements, employment, and other individualized support services.” [Arlington County]
Metro Seeks Input on Pershing-Rt 50 Bus Service — Metro will be holding two public meetings in Arlington next week to discuss potential improvements to the Metrobus 4A, B, E and H lines, also known as the Pershing Drive-Arlington Blvd line. [WMATA]
The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball team will advance to the Virginia AAA tournament, despite a heart-breaking loss in the Northern Region finals.
By making it to the regional finals, the Warriors received a berth in the Virginia High School League state tournament. Wakefield will now face Mountain View at the Siegel Center in Richmond at 5:30 p.m. this coming Thursday, Feb. 28, according to the Wakefield High School Athletics Facebook page.
Wakefield isn’t the only Arlington high school making a tournament run. Bishop O’Connell defeated Paul VI on Sunday to advance to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference finals. DJO will face St. John’s at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday at American University’s Bender Arena.
Photos courtesy Rob Laybourn
A video was released on YouTube today showing the team and their fans doing the Harlem Shake, which has become an internet sensation.
“What REALLY happens in the locker room after the Wakefield High School Warriors win a big game!” says the video’s description.
Wakefield, which defeated Langley on Tuesday with a buzzer beater that was caught on video, will face Robinson tonight in the Virginia AAA Northern Region tournament semifinals. The game is scheduled to take place at Robinson at 8:00 p.m.
Wakefield High School junior Re’Quan Hopson hit a game-winning three pointer as time expired last night to advance the boys basketball team to the regional semifinals.
Wakefield, which captured the National District championship last week, was trailing 43-44 with 4.2 seconds left in the game when Hopson inbounded the ball, received a pass back, and hit the three point shot as the game clock hit 0:00. Wakefield won 46-44 and screaming students rushed the court.
Northern Virginia Sports has a full game recap and another video angle of the shot. Wakefield will now face an away game at Robinson on Friday night.
Wakefield Captures District Championship — On Friday, the Wakefield High School boy’s basketball team defeated Mount Vernon 69-60 to become the National District champions. Wakefield is now competing in the Northern Region regional tournament. Yorktown, which fell 42-82 to Wakefield in the National District tournament, is also competing as a lower seed in the Northern Region tournament. [Northern Virginia Sports]
Neighbors Want Security Guard at New Homeless Shelter — Residents of the Woodbury Heights Condominium in Courthouse are pressing Arlington officials to place a 24-hour security guard at the county’s planned year-round homeless shelter at 2020 14th Street N. Residents say they’re worried about an increase in crime as a result of the shelter moving next to their building. A resident’s Freedom of Information Act request revealed that there have been just under 6 police responses to the existing shelter per year, on average, between 1994 and 2011, mostly for alcohol-related incidents. [Arlington Mercury]
Arlington Tourism Tax Bill Passes General Assembly — A bill that would restore Arlington’s 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge is destined for the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell. The state legislature approved the bill, which will restore the tax authority — which is used to fund tourism promotion — for three years. [Sun Gazette]
Conservative Tech Biz Booming in Arlington — Business is booming for a small Arlington-based conservative digital advocacy company. The co-founder of Red Edge, which is based above an antique shop in Lyon Park, says he expects the business to double or triple this year as Republicans look to make up ground lost to Democrats in the online sphere. [New York Times]
Registration Open for Ballston LaunchPad Challenge — Registration is now open for the Ballston LaunchPad Challenge. The contest challenges entrepreneurs to come up with the “next great idea,” for a chance to pitch their innovation to billionaire Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. [Ballston BID]
The new Wakefield High School, slated for completion this summer, will include two new publicly-accessible pools. An upcoming meeting will provide the public an opportunity to learn more about and weigh in on the operation of those pools.
On Tuesday, March 12, from 7:00 to 9:00 at the Arlington Education Center (1426 N. Quincy Street), the Arlington Public Schools Aquatics Committee will hold its annual aquatics forum for residents. The forum will focus on the new Wakefield aquatics center, but will also discuss the existing Washington-Lee and Yorktown pools. A similar meeting in 2009 gave residents a chance to contribute views on the then-new Washington-Lee aquatics center.
Expected to open to the public in September, the new Wakefield aquatics center will consist of an 8-lane lap pool and an instructional/diving pool that can also be used as a 5-lane lap pool.
In an email, APS Aquatics Director Helena Machado told us the following about the new facility.
The Wakefield facility pool currently under construction will contain two swimming pools. The “competition pool” will be 25 yards in length and will have 8 lanes. The “instructional/diving” pool will be 25 meters in length and 33.3 feet wide. This pool’s primary use will be for diving and a wide variety of shallow and deep water instructional activities. This pool’s unique configuration of joining diving and shallow-water instructional space will give us the opportunity to also use the pool as a 5-lane lap pool of either 25 yards or 25 meters in length.
The new Wakefield aquatics facility will be programmed and staffed to provide the best possible service to the aquatics community, and at this time there are no plans to reduce community swim hours. The facility and both of its pools will be used for a wide range of aquatics activities, including swimming instruction, water fitness classes, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming, and lap swimming. The pool will be staffed to ensure a safe environment for all of its program participants.
The “instructional/diving” pool will be open daily for classes, diving or other special needs (including lap swimming at times) as needed, and as the scheduling and programming warrants. It was designed as a flexible space and not designed to be only a lane pool. As a result, it will be programmed that way which has always been the plan.
Wakefield High School, at 4901 S. Chesterfield Road, is about 6 miles away from the county’s planned $80 million Long Bridge Park aquatics center.
Pentagon Shooter Sentenced — Yonathan Melaku, the ex-Marine who pleaded guilty last year to firing bullets at the Pentagon, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. Melaku had planned a terror campaign that included spray painting Arabic statements on gravestones and leaving explosives in Arlington National Cemetery, according to prosecutors. [Washington Post]
Bad Reviews for Rosslyn Safeway — While getting high marks for friendly cashiers, the Safeway supermarket in Rosslyn has earned a dismal 1.5 out of 5 stars in 53 reviews on Yelp. Customers have called the store “disgusting,” “gross,” “cavernous” and the “worst grocery store ever.” [Ode Street Tribune]
Gala Celebration for Wakefield High — The Wakefield Alumni Foundation will be hosting a celebration in May to celebrate the high school’s 60th anniversary. A new Wakefield High School building is expected to open this summer, and the present 1950s-era building will eventually be torn down. [Sun Gazette]
Wakefield Routs Yorktown — The Wakefield Warriors boys basketball team defeated the Yorktown Patriots by the lopsided score of 74-41 on Jan. 11. Wakefield improved to a record of 10-4 overall, while Yorktown fell to 5-8. [Sun Gazette]
Photo by Katie Pyzyk
BonChon Chicken Coming to Arlington — BonChon Chicken, a popular Korean-based chicken chain, will be coming to the ground floor of the new 2201 Pershing apartment building. The restaurant, noted for its wings, expects to open in the summer of 2013. [Washingtonian]
Galaxy Hut Goes Vegetarian — Galaxy Hut has introduced a new menu and meat is nowhere to be seen. The revamped menu is all-vegetarian and includes
tofu seitan and vegetable-based cheesesteaks, burgers and barbecue sandwiches instead of the genuine article. Some meat-based meals are still available, but by request only. [Washington Post]
Wakefield Half-Way Finished — Construction of the new Wakefield High School has hit the half-way mark. The new $115 million high school is expected to open next summer in time for the 2013-2014 school year. [Sun Gazette]
Church Prepares Meals for the Hungry — Instead of a traditional Sunday service, members of Arlington-based Grace Community Church prepared nearly 100,000 meals for those in need. The church meets at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. [WUSA]
As the start of school lingers right around the corner, improvements have been confirmed for the sports facilities at Wakefield High School. Although some of the renovations won’t be completed in time for the 2012-2013 sports season, others are just weeks away from implementation.
Last week, Wakefield Principal Dr. Christian Willmore met with parents and discussed the issue, according to Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia. On Monday (August 27), Willmore joined Student Activities Director Noel Deskins in issuing a letter to the Wakefield community, outlining scheduled improvements.
The letter said, “As you visit the stadium this fall for various games and activities, you will notice that it may not look the best! The stadium was impacted by the 2011 earthquake, construction, and now the derecho! We ask that you please excuse the mess as we work with APS in making necessary updates to the stadium.”
The letter continued by outlining renovations underway or soon to come. An excerpt from the letter’s list of upgrades follows:
- The turf along the tennis court fence has already been repaired
- New Bleachers (yes, on both sides) total seating 2200 – by June 2013
- New Press Box with a video filming platform for coaches, heating, AC, and an upgrade in our audio system – by June 2013
- New Stadium Scoreboard has been ordered – expected delivery sometime in October 2012. The scoreboard will be an updated version with LED lights, trumpet horn, 1 tenth digit, time out display, WAKEFIELD inserted in place of HOME, and a name plate above the board reading HOME OF THE WARRIORS (and in Wakefield Green of course). By the way, the current scoreboard does work and we will use it until the new one arrives!
Some parents had previously expressed discontent over the facilities having fallen into such disrepair, and questioned why improvements didn’t appear to be included in the $118 million plan for a new Wakefield school building. Comparisons have been made to facilities at Yorktown and Washington-Lee High Schools, with some parents claiming Wakefield’s needs are being overlooked.
A disgruntled tipster told ARLnow.com yesterday, “The new Wakefield facility currently under construction does not have any plan for the football field and surrounding structures. County officials cite tight budgets for the lack of a plan, but many in the Wakefield community just feel jerked around; something county officials wouldn’t dare to do with the Yorktown or W&L communities.”
Echoing the discontent, the “Friends of Wakefield HS Stadium” Facebook page launched last month. In its “About” section, the page states, “We are residents of Arlington County, who would like to see the stadium at Wakefield High School upgraded to the same standard as W-L and Yorktown.” Posts have been added sporadically, highlighting issues such as the desire for a new concessions stand and restrooms in the stadium.
For a large part, the most highly requested improvements listed on the Facebook page were addressed in the letter sent to parents this week. That includes a section mentioning the possibility of a new concessions stand and restrooms which reads: “Discussions continue with APS in regards to possible replacement of concession stand and rest rooms inside stadium area.”
Photos (below) via Facebook
Police were called after a security guard spotted individuals on the roof. During their investigation, police found that the four adults and three juveniles had climbed onto the roof via a pole on the outside of the school, and proceeded to drink beer on the roof.
The former students, who graduated on Wednesday, June 20, tried to flee the scene. One of the subjects attempted to resist arrest and engaged in a physical altercation with an officer. He was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, but has since been released back into police custody for questioning.
According to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, this incident has similarities to one last week on the second floor of the school, which resulted in vandalism. K9 units were brought in to investigate today’s incident, but no vandalism was discovered. The former students are in custody speaking with detectives to see if they have information about last week’s incident. However, Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia says there was no vandalism last week, somebody simply set off a fire extinguisher.
“It’s just a poor decision on their behalf, to bring alcohol onto the school property and drink,” Sternbeck said. “They weren’t here to vandalize the property, they were just here to have a good time, but it was a poor decision making process.”
All the subjects will be charged with trespassing, and the adults will be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
“It’s an unfortunate incident,” said Bellavia. “They made a poor decision.”
It’s unclear if there will be any sort of punishment issued by APS. Bellavia said system officials will have to look into the incident, because the subjects are no longer students.
A YouTube video of an amazing half-court buzzer beater in a key game between Washington-Lee and Wakefield is making the rounds today among local hoops fans.
The video (above) was recorded by Arlington Independent Media during last week’s National District semifinal game between two Arlington high schools: Washington-Lee and Wakefield.
According to the Sun Gazette, Wakefield had just tied the game at 60-60 with a last-second three pointer. Then, with 1.2 seconds to go, W-L inbounded the ball to junior Winston Duncan, who sunk the winning basket from half court.
Washington-Lee fans rushed the court in celebration, but that’s where the team’s jubilation ended. The team went on to lose by 9 points in the National District championship game and has since been eliminated from the Northern Region tournament.
Hat tip to @31nader