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DEVELOPING: APS Exploring New School on Wilson Blvd Property

Wilson School (photo courtesy Preservation Arlington)(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) Arlington Public Schools is backing off a plan to sell its Wilson School property to a developer. Instead, the school system and the county are exploring the possibility of building a new 1,300-student secondary school on the property.

Located at 1601 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, the Wilson School was built in 1910 and preservationists have been calling for it to be restored rather than torn down. Under a plan approved by the School Board last summer, it was to be demolished to make way for a private mixed-use development with affordable housing, a new fire station and a 1.5 acre park.

Now, according to a press release (after the jump), that plan has been scrapped in favor of retaining the property and perhaps building a new secondary school at the site, to address the school system’s capacity crunch.

The Wilson Boulevard school is envisioned as a brand new secondary school, not a new location for the 624-student H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, currently located in Cherrydale, according to Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations John Chadwick.

From APS and Arlington County:

Officials from Arlington Public Schools (APS) and Arlington County today announced that APS has decided to retain its Wilson Boulevard property in western Rosslyn for possible redevelopment as a new secondary school.”Retaining the Wilson property will help APS address our critical shortage of seats for students in a timely manner” said School Board Chair Abby Raphael. “As we develop our 2015-24 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), we will explore options to construct a 1,300 seat secondary school on the site.” Raphael added, “This decision demonstrates the continued priority both boards place on using our limited public land to meet the school division’s future capital needs and to provide open space for the community.”

The “More Seats for More Students” Initiative

APS has experienced significant overcrowding for a number of years. Since 2006, APS enrollment has grown by more than 4,850 students, or 26%, reaching a current high of 23,717 students to date. School officials project that over the next decade, APS enrollment will surpass 30,000 students, a 63% increase since 2006.

In 2009, the School Board adopted the Progressive Planning Model (PPM) framework, a step-wise approach to developing additional capacity throughout the system. Since then, APS has been aggressive in maximizing the capacity of existing facilities and identifying creative solutions to respond to the ever-growing demand for space in schools through the APS “More Seats for More Students” capital improvement planning process. As part of its current CIP planning, APS will evaluate the Wilson location for a possible 1,300 seat, urban model secondary school with a large open space available to the community.

Information about the “More Seats for More Students” effort is available online at www.apsva.us/moreseats.

Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study (WRAPS)

The Wilson property is part of the Western Rosslyn Area Planning Study (WRAPS). In addition to the Wilson property, the WRAPS area includes:

  • Fire Station #10
  • Rosslyn Highlands Park
  • 7-Eleven
  • 1555 Wilson Blvd. office building
  • 39-unit multifamily development known as Queens Court Apartments

Through WRAPS, the County, APS, developers and the community had planned to work on addressing community and redevelopment goals, including:

  • Achieving quality park, recreation and open spaces of at least 60,000 square feet;
  • Increasing affordable housing opportunities;
  • Replacing Fire Station #10;
  • Ensuring energy efficiency and sustainability; and
  • Achieving a mix of uses with appropriate heights and densities in the context of surrounding development.

The County Board will amend the charge to the WRAPS Working Group, to include a 1,300 seat secondary school within the planning area; the Board may also consider other changes as necessary.

“We are very excited to move forward on this planning process,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “We look forward to working with the community, the private property owners and the schools to maximize the use of the public lands while contributing to the creation of a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood.”

The WRAPS planning process has been on hold for many months. The decision to consider using the property for a potential future school sets the stage for a new WRAPS process. It will be conducted concurrently with the Rosslyn Sector Plan Update – Realize Rosslyn process. Analysis and recommendations from both studies will be coordinated to ensure that they are compatible.

To learn more, visit the WRAPS website.

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It is the decision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to implement the Proposed Action: the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update (Pentagon Master Plan) as the framework to guide future decisions regarding land use and infrastructure at the Pentagon site and Mark Center. The Pentagon Master Plan aims to provide an update to the existing conditions at the Pentagon and Mark Center and presents projects and revisions to land use categorizations that will address the specific needs to reduce the Pentagon’s environmental impacts and advance sustainability, security, and resilience. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review has been completed through preparation of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate environmental impacts arising from implementation of the projects. WHS has concluded that no significant impacts to the human or natural environment will result from implementation of any projects, and recognized negative effects will be reduced by adherence to standard best management practices, applicable permit and consultation conditions, and standard operating procedures. This decision is further documented in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on March 20, 2024.

This notice announces the availability of the FONSI to implement the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update.

For further information and to request a copy of the Final EA or FONSI, please contact Brian King, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager, WHS/Facilities Services Directorate/Standards and Compliance Division/Environmental and Sustainability Branch; (703-614-3658 or [email protected]). Please include “Pentagon Master Plan Final EA and FONSI” in the subject line.

Submit your own Announcement here.

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Come hear the latest news about fair housing enforcement, policy, and programs within Arlington County, Virginia, and across the country! Our expert panelists and guest speakers include fair housing advocates, elected officials, and government officials tasked with advancing housing equity at the local, state, and federal level.

Arlington has made substantial strides in advancing housing equity and improving fair housing policy with the adoption of the Regional Fair Housing Plan in 2023. Come learn what’s next to fight housing discrimination, incorporate equity for marginalized populations in our housing policies and programs, and increase awareness of fair housing rights under state and federal law.

We’ll have updates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing federal rule, a panel discussion of fair housing progress at the General Assembly and across Virginia, and a panel of local experts discussing the progress Arlington has made and what remains to be done.
Please RSVP in advance to ensure you receive your free lunch at the conference. Free and open to the public.

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Submit your own Announcement here.

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