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Planning Begins for New High School Seats at Career Center

A working group will soon begin evaluating the Arlington Career Center and planning for more high school seats there — and even looking into the possibly of a new comprehensive high school on the site.

The Career Center (816 S. Walter Reed Drive) is set for a renovation and an addition of 700-800 high school seats in time for 2022. The Arlington School Board voted in June to use it alongside the Education Center to add 1,300 high school seats, in a so-called “hybrid” option.

And according to a draft charge for the Career Center Working Group, it will assess the following as it helps prepare the site for the additional seats:

  1. Estimate total project cost with low, middle and high cost alternatives within the funding limits approved by the School Board
  2. A vision and plan for the site that could include further additions and renovations that might develop in phases into a H.S., and that includes Arlington Tech and existing programs. This will be developed through a community engagement process in concert with the County.
  3. Options for common spaces, including recreational and performance spaces, that might also be shared with the community Draft Charge for CCWG
  4. Parking requirements including structured parking
  5. Physical education programs and field space
  6. Timelines and funding requirements
  7. Assume current programs continue to exist; provides funds for instructional spaces
  8. [Patrick Henry Elementary School] must remain an elementary school for the foreseeable future
  9. APS’s FY2017-26 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) – provides funds for instructional spaces – does not include funds for public spaces available at other high schools

At a meeting tomorrow night (Wednesday) at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford Street), the county’s Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JFAC) and the Advisory Council on School Facilities and Capital Programs (FAC) will meet to discuss the plan for the renovated Career Center.

And at that meeting, commission members will look to identify any additional factors that must be weighed, and also ask whether the site should be considered for the proposed fourth comprehensive high school in the county.

When School Board members approved the “hybrid” option, they also directed Superintendent Patrick Murphy to explore “options describing cost, timeline, capacity, location and program for a [fourth] comprehensive high school in the FY 2019-2028 [Capital Improvement Program] process.”

Under a timeline proposed by APS staff, community engagement will begin next month and last through May, after the two commissions review the proposal. In parallel, the working group will do its work, before making a presentation to the School Board in May.

Photos Nos. 1 and 2 via Google Maps.

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