Groundbreaking for New Wakefield High School

by ARLnow.com June 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm 8,338 16 Comments

(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.

  • Hmm…

    They donned shovels? Now that I’d like to see!

    Wonder why they’re expanding a school that is reportedly under-enrolled–unless, as someone surmised here, they plan to expand its boundaries. Or there’s a massive baby boom among current Wakefield households expected.

    • John

      They will have to expand Wakefield’s boundaries once the new school opens, or expand the capacity of W-L with a building addition. W-L will be at 2,600 students by the fall of 2016. The new W-L was built for 1,600 students, and the capacity has been increased to about 1,900. Yorktown will also be overcrowded.

      The citizens advisory committee to the school board has recently recommended significant boundary changes. Back in the mid-60s as many will recall the boundary for Wakefield was in North Arlington and followed Pershing Drive and Wilson Boulevard west of Ballston… Some N Arlington kids in the near future could be Wakefield students.

  • Thadius

    Don’t be so negative.
    As an alalumni, this is a well deserved upgrade to the school. I’m glad its finally here

    • Alalumni?

      Do you mean “alumni”? And that’s plural. You would be an alumnus or an alumna. Maybe you should go back.

  • Thadius


  • bb

    What, no snarky comments about the cupcake cake?

    Nor any South Arlington jokes about the body they probbly found when they started digging?

    • Rick

      Even the yuppiest of the yuppie know Wakefield isn’t in a terrrrrrrrrrrrrible neighborhood. And it’s too hot to grill burgers outside, cupcakes were the next logical choice for something in Arlington

      • SoArlRes

        Give it a little while and it will more closely resemble north Arlington. It’s not that different even now. 🙂

      • Curios

        I would like to see a scale of Yuppie-ness, and what the criteria are for each level or unit. And, can you be a Yuppie and a DINK at the same time?

        -slightly bored on a Friday

  • Andy

    This is financed by a bond that was approved by a majority of voters. But it seems this is exactly how we get ourselves in financial trouble. Bonds are no better than spending on credit cards. Why don’t we save up $118 million and THEN build the new school? Or are governments just not capable of operating that way?

  • charlie

    i know it is hot, but you would think the Chairman of the Board would don at least a sports jacket to show the respect of his position.

  • Stu Pendus

    Is that Barbara Favola showing off her legs?

  • Thomas

    So, they tried to kill the planetarium at W&L, but OK’d a diving well at Wakefield?

    South Arlington gets all the good stuff.

  • Andrew

    As a Wakefield grad (1984), I’ll be sad to see the old school go. I know it’s needed, blah, blah, blah… Hopefully, they’ll give alumni a chance to tour the existing school before it’s razed. Maybe we can have an all-classes “going away party” at the school, in the cafeteria, complete with school lunches and half-pint cartons of chocolate milk.

    • Noel

      Good idea Andrew!!!!! I would come and I know lots of people from the class of 82 and 83 would come too!!! 🙂

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