The Stratford School building in Cherrydale will expand as it transitions to a middle school.
The County Board unanimously approved a plan Saturday to add 40,000 square feet to the school, which currently houses the H-B Woodlawn secondary program. The addition will include a new library, an auxiliary gym, classrooms, science labs and other teaching spaces and a new student common area.
A design for the 1,000-seat middle school was first approved last year by the County Board.
Also in 2016, the County Board designated the school as a local historic district. In 1959, when Stratford was previously a middle school, it was the first Virginia public school to be integrated.
“This plan ensures that Stratford School building, perhaps Arlington’s most significant local historic designation so far, will be preserved — and will be adapted to serve the changing needs of our growing student population,” County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said. “We have to meet our county’s current needs while remembering and honoring the important role Stratford played in 1959, when it became the first public school in the commonwealth to be integrated.”
Ben Bergen, assistant director of design and construction for schools, said Superintendent Patrick Murphy has formed a group to discuss an “interpretive experience” to recognize the school’s history.
The school’s athletic field will be re-graded and rebuilt. Arlington Public Schools staff agreed to try redesigning the field to meet Ultimate Frisbee requirements, as in current plans it is too short for that sport. H-B Woodlawn currently offers an Ultimate Frisbee program for its students.
Bergen said construction should begin early next year, with the major work being done in the summers of 2018 and 2019. H-B Woodlawn students will stay in the building during construction, while the Stratford program will move into temporary buildings.
School Board chairwoman Nancy Van Doren said once finished, the new Stratford School will be a facility everyone can be proud of.
“We broke so many new boundaries with this, and I think we’re going to end up with a fabulous, fabulous project,” she said.