Press Club

County Board to Debate New Elementary School Near Thomas Jefferson Middle School

The County Board will debate the plan to build a new elementary school on the site of Thomas Jefferson Middle School at its meeting Saturday.

The new elementary school at 125 S. Old Glebe Road would provide 752 seats and replace the current Patrick Henry Elementary School at 701 S. Highland Street. A naming process for the new school is underway. It is projected to cost $59 million and to open in September 2019.

But a report prepared by county staff acknowledges the project still has concerns, including theater parking during construction, the impact on homes at the north side of the site, whether an existing surface parking lot should remain and neighbors’ desire for sidewalk improvements in an area outside of the project’s scope.

As part of the approval process, the County Board will also discuss leasing county-owned land at the site to the School Board so the new school can be built.

If the County Board allows the lease to be executed, Arlington Public Schools would then have the right to use the land to build the new elementary school and a 214-space, joint-use parking garage. The lease would be set to expire in 75 years, in 2092.

A report by county staff found that executing the lease would not impact the county financially, but an agreement will be necessary to solidify how the county and APS will share the parking garage’s operating and maintenance expenses.

Staff recommends approval of the use permit for the new school and the execution of the lease.

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