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Students Break Ground on New Williamsburg Elementary School

(Updated at 11:05 a.m.) Dozens of students who will be attending the new elementary school at Williamsburg Middle School’s campus participated in the new school’s groundbreaking yesterday afternoon.

The approximately 97,000-square-foot elementary school is planned to open before the 2015 school year. The school is planned to be one of the few schools in the country to be energy neutral, meaning the energy it generates with solar panels and other sources will be enough to completely power the school.

“We won’t be relying on Dominion Power,” Arlington Public Schools Director of Facilities Planning Scott Prisco said during the groundbreaking ceremony, held in the Williamsburg gymnasium. “It’s important to show the idea of sustainable design… can look absolutely stellar.”

The new school doesn’t have a name yet — APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said that will come after a principal is hired and there is community outreach to settle on the proper name — but Superintendent Patrick Murphy tried to imbue upon the future students that they were becoming a part of history.

“When you’re my age or even older, you can reflect on that you were a part of this groundbreaking for this school,” he said to the dozens of children in attendance.

The construction is expected to cost about $35 million, for a total school cost of $46.5 million. Prisco said yesterday that the project is within budget so far. School Board Chair Abby Raphael beamed when discussing the process of getting the school built and approved.

“It was a really positive boundary process, and that doesn’t happen very often,” she said. “The school is not just a building, it’s a community.”

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