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Design of New Williamsburg Elementary School Approved

by ARLnow.com February 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm 23 Comments

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.

  • DCBuff

    Only $35 million to build? Not enough in ArlCo-spend more. I always worry when they call a cafeteria in an elementary school the “dining commons.”

    • dining commons

      means an open area that is used for other activities as well as dining.

      • DCBuff

        Yes, of course. If it is called a cafeteria it can’t be used for other activities.

        • dining commons

          If it is not designed to be used for other activities, it’s called a cafeteria.

          A dining commons is often open to the hallway, unlike a cafeteria that’s it’s own room.

          You don’t know what you’re talking about, so you assume someone else is dumb instead of you simply not knowing what you’re talking about. That’s typical.

  • How

    How does this huge project get built in a year and a half, yet bridge repair work takes 2-3 years to complete?

    • drax

      The school isn’t being used while you build it.

  • BlueLoom

    Note that nearby Fairfax County residents aren’t the only ones concerned about traffic. Those of us who live on nearby Arlington streets also feel that our traffic concerns are not being addressed, e.g., how will the county handle the roller-coaster ride that drivers like to take at top speed on Kensington between Williamsburg and Yorktown? How will the county handle young kids crossing Williamsburg at Kensington to get to the new school? Crossing guard? Another traffic light? Insist that the kids all walk down to Harrison and cross at the light? Far too many unanswered questions.

    • BBMS

      That’s a good point about the Kensington-Williamsburg crossing. I would not want my kids trying to cross there since it’s kind of a blind approach coming up the hill. Although it looks like they are putting in better medians as part of the storm sewer replacement along Williamsburg. I would not be surprised to see some sort of traffic control signals installed and/or a crossing guard provided for the elementary school kids.

  • DesigningWoman

    I believe the concept design for Ashlawn was approved previously and it is the schematic design that they will vote on 2/21.

  • Dezlboy

    @BlueLoom, have you contacted ArCo Transportation Planning Bureau and posed your concerns to them? Here’s the link


  • Nimmel

    It cannot cost $35 M. The most ornate and foolish design where the Owner would allow proprietary spec of products with “no substitutions” which means no competition would still setup a quiz above $25M for a 93,000sf school and associated site work. Not a guess.

    • CM

      Ok hot shot, show me your schedule of values for the build. Otherwise you are just guessing whether you say so or not.

  • Joe

    What’s preventing them from re- tasking the Madison Community Center back to James Madison Elementary School?

    • funny you should ask

      At the community meetings, we’ve been told that there are too many historic artifacts on the Madison site, and that it is an archaeologically important site.

      On another note, why don’t they move the programs at the ATS/Reed facilities to a different location so those schools could be repurposed to neighborhood schools– there is a black hole in the middle of that area with no Elementary School facilities dedicated to neighborhood schools…

    • Bluemontfred

      The population of students is closer to WMS rather than Madison That’s one of the reasons it wasn’t chosen.

  • RS

    Arlington only spends 38% of it’s budget to schools, far too low.
    Arlington spends 18% of it’s budget to public safety and courts, far too high.
    Arlington Office of the Commonwealths Attorney is getting over $3 million on personnel alone in her small office.
    She makes over 163K a year. That is 10K over her predecessor.
    Two of her Deputy Prosecutors make around 149K a year. That is in TOP 1% of all Arlington Government Employees.
    If she would stop overpaying her friends, maybe we could afford more for schools.

    • drax

      So you just saved, what, a few thousand?

  • Cakes

    Yes. Let’s attract talent to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office by going cheap.

    • been there

      home run, cakes; very well played.

  • GreenEnergy

    The posted price of 35 mil does not include the planned $150,000,000.00 in greeen energy ‘improvements’ bringing the total cost closer to $200,000,000.00 which is on par with what I would expect Arlington County Public Schools to pay for a new facility.

  • Being that the elementary schools in the the northern section of our county are overcrowded, and have been so for several years, I hope our elected leaders are preparing to deal with the middle school and (now already existing) high school overcrowding issues.

    • been there

      “I hope our elected leaders are preparing to deal with the middle school and (now already existing) high school overcrowding issues” — Why — so you can complain about the cost for those facilities? You possibly haven’t noticed that they built an entirely new W-L, entirely new Yorktown, and are now constructing entirely new Wakefield — all of which generated the usual chorus of whining about the cost.

  • get real

    Oh, the sudden concern about the safety of kids crossing Williamsburg Blvd. Not a NIMBY concern, maybe. Where’s your concern about Tuckahoe kids crossing Sycamore, Patrick Henry kids crossing Walter Reed, McKinley kids crossing McKinley road, etc.? The answer is crossing guards, and courteous drivers and cops to enforce speed limits. Sure it’s a problem, life is a problem. Is it such a huge problem that they shouldn’t build the school? You probably would like it to be, but you would be much more credible if you showed some concern about kids on other school districts.


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