Two Arlington Public Schools programs offering alternatives to traditional high school will soon be housed in the same building.
New Directions Alternative Program, currently located in the Thurgood Marshall Building in Clarendon, will join the Langston High School Continuation Program located in the Langston-Brown Community Center along Lee Highway before the start of the 2021-22 school year.
“We are moving New Directions from the Marshall Building to Langston this summer,” said APS spokesman Frank Bellavia. “This is an efficiency for us since many New Directions staff work at Langston.”
New Directions helps students who have trouble in traditional school settings, need strict monitoring or are under court supervision, according to APS. Students successfully exit the program by graduating, returning to their home high school or transferring to the High School Continuation Program at Langston.
One person who contacted ARLnow questioned whether the new location will be a downgrade for students.
“The program diligently serves justice-involved youth, teaching them to reconnect with the Arlington community while achieving their high school diplomas,” the person wrote. “The location has always been important to their success through partnerships with multiple establishments in Clarendon.”
The building at 2847 Wilson Blvd is privately owned and rented to APS. It also houses the Employee Assistance Program, which provides free, confidential, professional assistance and counseling to APS and county employees and their families.
“EAP will remain in there for a little while longer,” Bellavia said.
Arlington County has a little under four years left on its eight-year lease, said realtor Bill Buck, who has already started marketing the space to potential renters on behalf of Steve Woodell, the owner.
Woodell, who runs a funeral home in Alexandria, has owned the building since 1979, when it was Ives Funeral Home. APS moved in about 21 years ago, he said.
Buck said Langston “is a better facility for the students” and he is happy for the students moving buildings.
“[EAP] will likely also leave before the end of the term,” Buck said. “What’s going to happen in the future, I don’t know. We have had interest from people that wanted to build an office building there, but the county would like to see retail on the first floor.”
Buck said he would like to see the space turned into a 100,000-square foot affordable housing building — not an office or retail space that would contribute to the glut of such amenities in Clarendon.
“I think it’d be great for affordable housing,” Buck said.
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