Press Club

Morning Poll: School in an Office Building?

The capacity crunch at Arlington Public Schools is not as dire as it once was, particularly after the pandemic, but there is still a need for more school seats in certain areas.

One place where a school might be needed: the National Landing area, where hundreds of new apartments are planned and where the nearest elementary school — Oakridge, in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood — is getting increasingly overcrowded, according to APS projections.

There’s not much contiguous land on which to plop down a full elementary school with fields and a playground in the Crystal City or Pentagon City neighborhoods, but one thing both have in abundance is office space — particularly older, harder-to-lease office space.

The Washington Business Journal reported last week that the City of Alexandria is purchasing an office building on N. Beauregard Street for $18 million, with plans to eventually convert it into a 600-student elementary or secondary school. Might that be an example for Arlington Public Schools to follow?

If not purchase an entire building, APS could potentially lease part of an office building for school use. Of course, some parents and students might not love the idea of having to take an elevator to class, or not having the grassy fields and other amenities of a typical suburban school.

What do you think?

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