Planning work to guide the transformation of the old Arlington Education Center into space for hundreds of high schoolers now seems set to kick off this fall.
The School Board will get its first look tomorrow night (Thursday) at a proposed “building-level planning committee” for the project, a group of parents, school staffers and civic association members who will help chart out designs for the effort over the next few months.
Arlington Public Schools is set to add at least 600 high school seats at the space, located at 1426 N. Quincy Street, as part of a plan sketched out by the Board last fall to ramp up the capacity of nearby Washington-Lee High School in the coming years. The Education Center was once the school system’s headquarters, but APS staff wrapped up a full move to new office space in Penrose earlier this year.
The school system expects to fully renovate the site, with a projected price tag of about $37 million, which is set to be drawn from a combination of school reserves and a future school bond.
The exact design of the building, however, is still up in the air and will largely be determined by the BLPC and the county’s Public Facilities Review Committee.
The Board will have the final say on the make-up of the BLPC, which is set to include 28 members in all. Board member Nancy Van Doren will serve as the Board’s liaison to the committee.
The planning process for the Education Center is set to wrap up in time for a Board vote on a school design this winter, with approval from the County Board expected sometime in spring 2019. If all goes as planned, construction will start in the summer of 2020 and the building will be ready for students in time for the 2021-2022 school year.
The Board is set to review the BLPC’s membership Thursday, then take a final vote on the matter on Aug. 30.