The following letter to the editor was submitted by Taylor Elementary School parents Danielle and Greg Maurer.
The APS option to create a large, 1,300 seat, 8 story “urban middle school” in Rosslyn is deeply concerning. The School Board should not approve this proposal without appropriate analyses. An enormous new middle school in an area with the fewest middle school aged students makes little sense. Studies have not been done to determine of the cost of this proposal, or how it would compare to the other two options.
Alternatively, the option of returning Stratford [the building that’s currently home to the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program -ed.] to a neighborhood middle school adheres to the county’s “smart growth” principles and serves the needs of the greatest number of students. Stratford was a neighborhood middle school for 25 years. Stratford is geographically appropriate in terms of where students live; maximizing student quality of life while minimizing transportation costs. The majority of students (approx. 75%) attending middle school at Stratford would be within the walking radius of the school. This decreases transportation costs and likely results in less vehicle traffic in the nearby neighborhood.
Arlington County is already congested, especially in Rosslyn. It’s unclear how decreasing green space in Arlington is a preferred option (the Rosslyn facility would require recreational space on the top of the building to provide “green space”). The Stratford Campus can be better utilized. There are approximately 650 students in the formerly 1,200 seat building. Additionally, this proposal can be partially implemented now, immediately relieving the overcrowding at Williamsburg and Swanson.
The most logical option before the Board is to return Stratford to its original purpose and relocate the H-B Woodlawn program to a site more suited to its desired size.
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