Arlington, VA

by ARLnow.com Sponsor November 6, 2019 at 12:00 pm 0

Arlington company, Eminent IT, wins a 2018 Fast Four Award

This article was written by Sindy Yeh, Senior Business Ambassador for Arlington Economic Development.

For the fifth year in a row, Arlington is celebrating its fastest growing companies.

The Fast Four Award honors Arlington companies that are growing quickly in a variety of revenue categories. Whether a technology-based or retail business, the Fast Four Award aims to recognize thriving companies across industry sectors. The award is also an opportunity for local companies to showcase their growth while demonstrating Arlington’s business-friendly environment.

To be eligible, companies must be privately held, be based in Arlington, and show continuous revenue growth between 2016 and 2018. To apply, companies must submit an online application and provide income statements to show proof of growth and revenue. The company with the fastest growth rate in each revenue category will be honored as one of Arlington’s fastest growing businesses.

The 2018 award winners were Arlington companies, AM LLC, LiveSafe, Eminent IT, and Mind, Body, Health.

The 2019 Arlington Fast Four winners will be formally announced on December 5 at the Arlington Premiere event to be held at Ballston Quarter. Arlington Premiere is an exclusive event where Arlington’s newest business owners have the opportunity to meet key community and government leaders while learning about the many resources available to them within the County.

We encourage fast-growing companies to apply for the 2019 Fast Four Awards.

by Anna Merod March 12, 2018 at 11:50 am 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) John Kaufhold had been working at NIH doing deep learning research, but realized he’d be better off working on his own.

So he quit his job in May of 2013 and began Deep Learning Analytics, which is currently based in Rosslyn, just a month later.

Deep learning finds patterns in data. Some examples of deep learning and artificial intelligence are Siri, when the technology learns a user’s voice and transcribes his or her words, and self-driving cars that learn roads and driving patterns over time.

At Deep Learning Analytics, data scientists specifically focus on the content of images, Kaufhold said. In other words, they find things in images and say what they are.

“You can do that in medical, supply chain management, you can do that in biology, you can do that in defense applications. So there are plenty of applications where you can get a lot of economic value from you have an image and then you have to say what’s in it,” Kaufhold said.

Some of the first projects Deep Learning Analytics worked on included analyzing combat casualty care and predicting school dropouts for Arlington Public Schools.

One of the biggest and most surprising projects the startup won was a government program by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on analyzing radar images. DARPA was having a problem looking at radar images and could not get past a longstanding benchmark. Research into the problem had been abandoned for years. But then Kaufhold approached the project manager at DARPA proposing that deep learning could help.

So Deep Learning Analytics sent a proposal and within six weeks they were significantly outperforming the state of the art. As a result, they were awarded $6 million for the project and had beat out major government contractors such as Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin and only two people including Kaufhold worked on the proposal.

“It was really unusual that two people could write a proposal for a $6 million program and win it,” Kaufhold said. “It’s also crazy that not only did we win that we then won the next phase while competing the companies that should have been able to outperform us.”

In July 2017, Deep Learning Analytics was awarded another $6 million for the second phase of the project. Now the startup has gone from 2 employees in 2014 to 12 today.

In November, for the third year in a row, the startup was named the one of the county’s “Fast Four” fastest growing companies by Arlington Economic Development.

“It’s great to be recognized for our growth and it also speaks to Arlington as a place to grow a small business like ours especially in a space that’s really hard to recruit in, it’s really hard to find good data scientists and talent that can do things like deep learning and artificial intelligence,” Kaufhold said.

While Kaufhold said he’s honored by the recognition, he said there isn’t enough credit given to Deep Learning Analytics for its diversity. The startup currently has six men and six women on its team.

“That’s something I wish were recognized more in the Washington, D.C. area. I think we could be a better public beacon of that kind of leadership of women in this region,” he said.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor December 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm 0

Winners of the Arlington Fast Four competition

This article was sponsored by Arlington Economic Development‘s Business Investment Group.

For the fifth year in a row, Arlington Economic Development honored the winners of its fastest-growing companies competition — known as the Arlington Fast Four.

The winners were formally announced and recognized at the Arlington Premiere event held on December 5 at the Ballston Quarter. The Arlington Premiere is a biannual event welcoming new businesses to Arlington. Close to 200 business leaders attended the December reception along with County officials, partner organizations, like the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and the Ballston Business Improvement District.

Award nominees were privately-held companies that showcased sound revenue growth in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Applicants were required to provide income statements to show proof of growth and revenue. The competition recognized companies within four categories of revenue, spanning from $500,000 to $25 million and above per year.

The 2019 Fast Four Winners are:

$500k-$1.5M: Deft Consulting (Clarendon)

Deft Consulting is a software services firm specializing in Appian low-code implementations. Deft was founded in 2016 by a former Appian Corporation employee, Scott Frantz, and the company has become a highly regarded official partner of Appian Corporation. Founders say that Arlington County’s resources, specifically those of AED, and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce have been extremely helpful in facilitating the business’s learning and growth as a small business.

$1.5M-$5M: Hungry Marketplace (Rosslyn)

Hungry Marketplace is a food-tech catering company that offers a mobile and online food platform connecting professional chefs to customers. The company will also deliver the fresh food from these chefs to customers. Started in 2016, Hungry expanded rapidly from the Washington area to Philadelphia, Atlanta and recently to Boston.

Hungry has deep roots in Arlington. Some of the founders live here and have founded several other Arlington-based companies such as Buysafe and Livesafe.

$5M-$25M: Capitol Bridge (Columbia Pike)

Founded in 2012, Capitol Bridge is an Arlington, Virginia-based SBA 8(a) business providing data and record management services, independent medical reviews, medical coding and administrative staffing. With offices in Arlington; Pittsford, New York; and Indianapolis, Indiana, Capitol Bridge has strategically developed its geographic footprint allowing it to be near its customers.

Capitol Bridge has served a wide variety of customers, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Arlington National Cemetery, the Federal Aviation Administration and other government agencies at both a federal and state level.

$25M+: Higher Logic (Rosslyn)

Higher Logic is an industry leader in cloud-based engagement platforms. Its data-driven approach gives organizations an expanded suite of engagement capabilities, including online community and marketing automation. Organizations worldwide use Higher Logic’s software platform to bring people together by giving their community a home to interact, share ideas, answer questions and stay connected.

Higher Logic also has strong connections to Arlington. The company started out in a small office on Lee Highway, then moved to the Rosslyn/Courthouse area and are now located in a large office on N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn with beautiful views of the river.

Congratulations to all the winners!

by Vernon Miles November 26, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.comStartup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Several Arlington startups have made an appearance on Deloitte’s top 500 fastest growing technology companies in 2018.

The annual “Fast 500” list looks at companies developing everything from entertainment to biotech nationwide. Overall, the survey found that the fastest growing industry sector was software, accounting for 64 percent of the total tech company growth over the last year. On the list were four Arlington software companies: Distil Networks, Mobile Posse, Fonteva, and Higher Logic.

The highest on the list was Distil Networks, ranked at number 131.

Distil Networks is a bot mitigation network that scans incoming data to filter out “bad bot” traffic hiding among the human and “good bot” information streams. The aim is to protect websites from data mining, spam and fraud.

“Founded in 2011, Distil was at the forefront of the bot problem before bots were part of everyday discourse, particularly surrounding social media and election meddling,” said Tiffany Olson Kleemann, CEO of Distil Networks. “We’re the experts at protecting websites, mobile apps, and APIs from automated attacks. We’re honored to be listed among so many esteemed and innovative companies solving some of today’s most challenging security and business problems.”

Over the last year, the company saw 872 percent growth. The company is located in Ballston at 4501 N. Fairfax Drive.

The next highest was Mobile Posse Inc. at number 237. Mobile Posse develops non-intrusive advertising on mobile devices, which delivers messages to locked screens and home screens. The company works with major North American phone carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

“Our experts at Mobile Posse are dedicated to creating new and innovative solutions to put the content people love at their fingertips,” said Jon Jackson, Founder and CEO of Mobile Posse, via email. “The ‘Fast 500’ is an award that punctuates our belief that we are moving into a new era of mobile content discovery, one where innovative solutions make it simple and easy for smartphone users to thrive and win.”

Jackson said one of the biggest events for the company over the last year was the launch of Firstly Mobile, a new platform that allows advertising content to be placed on the home screen and be accessible by swiping. The new product aimed at making advertising as “frictionless” as possible.

Jackson said soon after launch, Mobile Posse topped 7 million active daily users. Overall, Deloitte said the company saw 387 percent growth over the last year. The company is located in Ballston at 1010 N. Glebe Road.

At 286th on the list is Fonteva, a company that sets up membership software for associations and organizations.

“It is an honor to be recognized among so many talented companies,” said Jerry Huskins, Fonteva CEO and co-founder, in a press release. “Our past, present and future is a testament to the passion and engagement of our employees, customers, and partners. This combination is a force to be reckoned with and has resulted in a business with products that make us incredibly proud.”

Over the last year, Fonteva saw 291 percent growth. The company is located in Ballston at 4420 N. Fairfax Drive.

Higher Logic, a cloud-based engagement platform, sits at 348 on the list. The company offers organizations new ways to set up online communities and automate marketing.

The company, located in Rosslyn at 1919 N. Lynn Street, saw 228 percent growth over the last year.

by Chris Slatt July 22, 2020 at 2:45 pm 0

Modern Mobility is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

“Is it BRT if it doesn’t have dedicated lanes?”  That was a hot topic of conversation in 2013 and I can’t finish out my series on Pike Premium Transit without digging back into the most controversial aspect of the Columbia Pike Streetcar debate.

If you need a refresher,  Part 1 introduced what was envisioned for the Pike Premium Transit Network. Part 2 looked at progress on features to improve bus travel time. Part 3 examined the planned convenience & dependability features.  Today, I’ll take a look at the most controversial feature that was ever discussed for Columbia Pike’s transit system.

What’s the point of dedicated transit lanes?

Dedicated lanes are a core feature of the best transit systems, no matter the mode.  Given that your bus or train needs to stop places that aren’t your personal destination, transit systems can only be time-competitive with cars if they have a way to make up some or all of that time – like by not having to sit in the traffic created by those cars.

Why weren’t they planned for the Streetcar System?

Why wasn’t a dedicated lane recommended for the Columbia Pike Streetcar or the Premium Bus network that is replacing it?  The first reason, is that it was seen as impossible at the time.  During the first Alternative’s Analysis, VDOT was in control of Columbia Pike and made it clear they would never approve a reduction in the number of available through travel lanes of traffic.  During the second Alternative’s Analysis, Arlington had gained control of Columbia Pike (except for the intersection with Glebe Rd and the interchanges with Route 27), but the agreement between Arlington and Virginia stipulated that Virginia would withhold maintenance funds for the entirety of Columbia Pike if it were reduced to fewer than two through travel lanes in each direction except during temporary lane closures related to construction, repair and maintenance.

What’s changed?

That agreement, however, is no longer in effect.  It was amended in 2017 and would now allow a lane in each direction to be dedicated to only transit, or transit and HOV, or some other prioritization. So now that it technically possible, should we do it?

One of the earliest transportation analyses that was done for the Pike (in 2003) actually looked at several possible configurations for transit on the Pike:

  • Curb Shared – transit operates in the curb lane and shares space with cars.
  • Median Shared – transit operates in the median lanes (moving transit stops to the median) and shares space with cars.
  • Curb Varies – transit operates in the curb lanes. It shares space with cars east of Taylor Street and new dedicated transit lanes that would be built in addition to the existing car lanes West of Taylor.
  • Median Varies – same as Curb varies, but transit in the median lanes.
  • Curb Exclusive – the existing curb lanes are dedicated to transit, all car traffic consolidated to the median lanes.
  • Median Exclusive – the existing median lanes are dedicated to transit, all car traffic consolidated to the curb lanes.

The results?

A small improvement in travel time for transit over the “no-build” scenario (which already accounts for the rest of the improvements we’ve looked at – off-vehicle fare collection, all-door boarding, etc.) and a major increase in travel time for cars.  Unfortunately, the study in question doesn’t ever calculate “person-throughput” or “per-person travel time” which are metrics that would clearly quantify the overall effect on travelers in the corridor, but with the effect on car traffic so much higher than the effect on transit and knowing transit ridership, while high on the Pike, is not more than 50% of travelers, it’s clear the overall effect is negative.

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by ARLnow.com July 10, 2020 at 12:30 pm 0

Four major transportation projects in Arlington will receive tens of millions in regional funding, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority announced today.

The projects, all of which are in the planning stages, will bring multimodal upgrades to Crystal City and Rosslyn, as well as to the W&OD Trail. In all, the NTVA is providing more than a half billion dollars in funding to 21 projects around the region.

“On the evening of July 9th, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority adopted the FY 2020-2025 Six Year Program, the Authority’s fifth funding program and the most competitive to date,” the regional governmental body said in a press release. “$1.44 billion in multimodal transportation funding was requested by 13 Northern Virginia localities and agencies – including Arlington County – with $539 million in Authority regional revenues available.”

“The Authority unanimously voted to fund 21 of the 41 transportation projects submitted for funding consideration,” the press release continues. “Arlington County was awarded $29.874 million in regional revenues on the following projects aimed at reducing congestion and getting people to their destinations faster.”

The projects being funded in Arlington include:

The “CC2DCA” pedestrian bridge from Crystal City to Reagan National Airport, which is envisioned as providing a “High Line“-like experience as it spans the GW Parkway and makes walking to the airport more feasible for those in the National Landing area.

The project is set to receive $18 million from NVTA, of the total estimated project cost of $36.2 million.

The project will create a pedestrian connection between Crystal City and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). It would provide an additional transportation access point to the airport, which is less than one-half mile away from Crystal Drive, but is practically inaccessible by foot today. In addition to the potential reduction in vehicular traffic between the two destinations, the project is located roughly two blocks from the under-design Crystal City Metrorail Station East Entrance and provides a direct connection to bus service on the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway. The CC2DCA Intermodal Connector is intended to connect to the future relocated VRE commuter rail station. The CC2DCA Intermodal Connector project builds upon a recently completed feasibility study prepared by the Crystal City Business Improvement District (CCBID). This project will further evaluate alternatives, complete environmental documentation and approvals, engineering design, and ultimately construct a pedestrian connection between Crystal Drive and the terminals of DCA. The NVTA funding would be leveraged with both State and local funds to completely fund design and construction of the project; the Commonwealth has committed $9,500,000 to the CC2DCA Intermodal Connector.

Rosslyn Multimodal Network Improvements, which is an extension of the Core of Rosslyn study. The study, which was completed last year, calls for major changes to Rosslyn’s road and pedestrian network, including removal of the Fort Myer Drive tunnel under Wilson Blvd and upgrades to crosswalks, sidewalks and bike lanes.

The project is set to receive $11.9 million from NVTA, its full estimated cost, though the project description does not mention the tunnel removal.

Design and construct a suite of complementary bicycle and pedestrian improvements largely taken from the recommended implementation projects in the draft Core of Rosslyn study. Collectively as a package, the projects significantly improve access to employment, housing, and transit within the Rosslyn regional activity center, and improve regional connections between Rosslyn and Georgetown, DC.

The long-planned VRE Crystal City Station Improvements project, which would building a new, upgraded Virginia Railway Express station in Crystal City, the last VRE stop before D.C.

The project is set to receive $15.8 million of its estimated total $49.9 million cost.

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by ARLnow.com July 1, 2020 at 9:45 am 0

A three-day Fourth of July weekend is fast approaching.

This would usually be one of the busiest travel times of the year. Instead, airports have barely a quarter of the travellers as last year, and traffic maps are mostly a sea of green. The pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of normal life, including the willingness of people to leave one’s house and visit other places or people.

The anemic level of air travel is expected to continue, though driving may take up some of the slack: this summer is being dubbed the summer of the road trip.

How has coronavirus affected the Independence Day travel plans of Arlingtonians? Let’s find out.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor December 11, 2019 at 4:30 pm 0

Timeless elegance is essential when you’re choosing where to live your classic Chantilly lifestyle.

With modern twists throughout the charming new townhomes at Rockland Village Green, you’ll see a casual yet refined style incorporated into every detail.

This new community, with townhomes from the lower $600s, puts the best urban amenities just outside your door. Shopping, dining and recreation are all nearby, and the close proximity to major commuter routes ensures an easy drive to work.

These are the things that homeowners love at Rockland Village Green. And this amazing access is the promise that has been drawing high interest in the community’s final garage townhomes. Visit today to tour the stunning Holbrook model and the Bennington I Quick Move-In Homes!

If you are stuck in an endless cycle of renting, you can finally find a home complete with luxury features and finishes that you love and are eager to own and invest in.

With its premium Chantilly location and access to highly rated Fairfax County schools, these stunning townhomes are also functional and comfortable. This sought-after area is also home to an abundance of outdoor recreation, from local parks to nearby golf clubs.

Townhomes in the community come complete with three to four bedrooms, up to 2,457 square feet and a beautiful brick exterior with a two-car garage. You can even personalize your home design to your exact liking, including with an optional extra suite.

Anyone interested in elevating their lifestyle with a new townhome at Rockland Village Green should visit khov.com/RocklandVillageGreen or call 703-885-7118 to speak with a Sales Consultant.

Be sure to tour the community’s model home at 13921 Vernon Street, Chantilly, VA 20151 before the final townhomes are claimed.

by Airey October 16, 2019 at 4:15 pm 0

Arlington County is looking for more feedback on altering a section of Four Mile Run Trail and replacing the tennis courts at Bluemont Park, among other proposed changes.

“The goal of this Parks Maintenance Capital project is to replace the tennis court complex, lighting, restroom/storage, shelter, parking lot, site circulation, section of Four Mile Run Trail, site furnishing, drainage and landscaping in the Upper Bluemont area,” noted the county on its webpage for the project.

People are invited to attend a public meeting to share their thoughts and hear about the county’s goals on Tuesday, October 29 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Ashlawn Elementary School (601 N. Manchester Street.)

In addition to overhauling the tennis courts, shelter area, and the trail, Arlington is also aiming to make the new designs compliant with newer disability accessibility standards.

County staff began soliciting feedback online for the project back in June. The results from survey indicate that almost 40% of respondents frequently visit the park and that the tennis courts (which 45% of survey respondents reported using) and the trails (used by 75% of respondents) are among the most popular amenities.

The survey drew around 350 responses when it asked for suggestions on what should be changed in the park. The majority of responses asked the county to:

  • Preserve and plant more trees
  • Resurface the tennis courts to fix cracks and improve drainage
  • Improve lighting, and add more light poles near the baseball diamond
  • Install more benches at the tennis courts and elsewhere
  • Better maintain the restrooms and water fountains by the picnic shelter.

“Drainage has been a major problem this past year, with all the rain,” one resident wrote in a survey response. “The open space has had times when it was an impassable marsh.”

Several respondents asked the county to address stormwater runoff concerns with trees, more pervious surfaces, and underground drainage features.

Part of the park and the area around it lie within the floodplain around Four Mile Run. It was one of the areas hit by this summer’s flash flood, prompting the county to close the park’s picnic shelter at the time.

Other suggestions from residents included adding a pickleball court and a Capital Bikeshare station, plus replacing grassy areas with native pollinator plants and adding bee hives to the park — à la the county’s growing urban agriculture moment.

Other respondents opposed the proposed changes, however, with one resident asking the county to make no changes.

“The area in question is perfectly serviceable and Arlington can spend the money better in other areas,” the person said.

The renovation discussion comes two years after the county finished a contested retrofit of the park’s baseball field with new sod, equipment, and fencing, with several residents saying they had concerns about the fencing part of the project and the lack of public input as a whole in the process.

Funding for the new renovations is slated to be included in an upcoming Capital Improvement Plan budget.

Draft designs are expected to be presented at two additional public meetings scheduled this fall before renovations move forward next year, per the county’s website.

Images 1, 4 via Arlington County 

by Airey April 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm 0

A developer is planning to raze two office buildings on 601-701 12th Street S. in Pentagon City and build four new towers with residential, office, and retail space.

That’s according to a preliminary site plan filing with Arlington County. The plan also notes that the property’s current occupants — the Transportation Security Administration — are soon leaving the county.

Renderings in the filings from property owner Brookfield Properties depict four buildings planned for the area:

  • a 14-story, 240-foot high southwest tower for office space
  • a 20-story, 235-foot high southeast tower for residential or hotel use
  • a 24-story, 275-foot high northeast tower for residential or hotel use
  • a 26-story, 300-foot high northwest tower for residential use, with a penthouse

The company’s proposal says the development will occur in phases and will include “new access to the Pentagon City Metro, upgraded streetscapes and sidewalks, a new internal pedestrian pathway, public open spaces and outdoor seating” as well as public art.

Brookfield’s plans indicate that retail space is planned along the ground floor of the four towers and along 12th Street S.

Tysons-based law firm Venable LLP submitted the proposal, which included a request to make an exception to the site’s limits on building height and density for the project, on behalf of Brookfield.

The document notes that, “the proposal will help address the significant increase in demand for residential housing and hotel space, which will only grow considering the potential for office development in the region.”

The plan says it aims to “ease congestion on surrounding roads by integrating with nearby sites, improving internal circulation, and connecting to Metro.”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently using the two buildings on-site and is scheduled to move out next fall, per agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

“The new building will be located at 6595 Springfield Center Drive, Springfield,” said Farbstein.

The TSA had been planning to stay at the property, which is next to the Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters and across the street from the Pentagon City mall, until mid-2020.

TSA announced in 2015 that it would move to Alexandria in a bid to save $95 million over the next 15 years, but the move was later overturned by a federal judge.

Brookfield Properties describes the two, 12-story buildings currently occupied by the TSA as, “aging, obsolete” and “unattractive.”

The county posted the address of the project on its website under “Preliminary Development Proposals” last week. However, the process of obtaining the plans revealed the county’s permitting and zoning offices were adapting the way they process records requests.

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by Alex Koma February 5, 2019 at 1:30 pm 0

New school enrollment projections have reignited the long-dormant debate over the wisdom of building a fourth comprehensive high school in Arlington, as officials plot out the best strategy to educate a student population that won’t stop growing.

The issue reemerged in earnest late last month, when Arlington Public Schools planners unveiled some startling new data that could upend the School Board’s long-term construction plans.

It was not exactly breaking news when planners revealed that the school system’s enrollment is projected to grow by about 24 percent over the next 10 years. APS has added an average of 800 students annually for the last five years, after all.

But school leaders were a bit surprised to see that growth continuing apace, after initially expecting the number of students flowing into the county start falling through 2028, not rising. Even more notably, the new projections show about 2,778 additional elementary schoolers set to enroll in Arlington schools over the next 10 years, about 1,000 more than school planners projected just a year ago.

Considering how young those students are, that number could demand a major reexamination of the school system’s plans to add new high school seats.

The Board decided back in 2017 to build room for 1,300 high schoolers split between the Arlington Education Center and the Arlington Career Center, avoiding the expensive and difficult task of finding space for a fourth comprehensive high school in the county. But these new projections have some Board members wondering if that will be enough to meet these enrollment pressures.

“One of the bottom lines of this is that the 1,300 high school seats is not enough,” Board member Barbara Kanninen said at the group’s Jan. 24 meeting. “This looks, to me, like we’re really going to need that full, comprehensive high school after our Career Center project. And, to me, that means we need to start thinking about what that package of high school seats is really going to look like.”

New County Board member Matt de Ferranti also raised some eyebrows by suggesting in his introductory remarks on Jan. 2 that the county should fund a new high school, but not all of Arlington’s elected leaders are similarly convinced.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy urged the Board to “take a breath, look at this one year, and see if these patterns begin to play themselves out over a long period of time,” and some members agreed with a more cautious approach to the new projections.

“APS enrollment is growing faster than the available funds we have to address our growth, for operating needs (teachers, textbooks, buses) as well as for capital projects (building and expanding schools),” School Board Chair Reid Goldstein wrote in a statement to ARLnow. “It’s important to remember that student enrollment and projections are just a snapshot of one major factor. That’s why we will continue to emphasize flexibility in our planning so we can be responsive and adaptable to address our future community and operating landscape.”

But, for some parents who have long demanded a new comprehensive high school in the county — joining Wakefield, Yorktown and the newly renamed Washington-Liberty — the new projections only underscore the urgency of what they’ve been asking for this whole time.

“I think the data have been suggestive for quite some time that Arlington will need a fourth high school, and it seems to make the most economic sense to do that project all at once and not in pieces,” Christine Brittle, a market researcher and APS parent who has long been active on school issues, told ARLnow via email.

But Brittle did add that it was “surprising” that Kanninen sees a need for a new high school even after the Career Center project is finished.

It remains an open question just how the Career Center will look once the school system can add 1,050 new seats there, work that is currently set to wrap up by 2025 or so. As part of deliberations over its latest 10-year construction plan last year, the Board agreed to build some of the same amenities at Arlington’s other schools at the Career Center.

But the county’s financial challenges meant that the Board couldn’t find the cash to build all of the features to make the Career Center entirely equivalent to a comprehensive high school, and a working group convened to study the issue urged the Board to open it as an “option school” instead of requiring students in the area to attend a school without the same amenities as others elsewhere around the county.

Accordingly, Brittle would rather see the Board simply expand its plans for the site instead of setting out to build a whole new school.

“I’m actually agnostic about whether the Career Center is the correct location for a [fourth high school], so perhaps APS is going to revisit that decision in light of these new projections,” Brittle said. “However, assuming they are going forward with the Career Center project, it certainly makes the most sense to do that project now as a full, fourth high school.”

Such a switch would come with its own complications — as the school system’s Montessori program leaves Drew Model School, it’s currently set to move into the old Patrick Henry Elementary, which sits next to the Career Center. Any move to transform the site would likely require finding a different home for the Montessori students instead, at least in the long term.

“It would be far cheaper to find some additional, offsite-but-nearby field space, add a pool to the already robust Career Center plans, and find another building to repurpose for elementary Montessori, rather than building a large choice high school, which they may or may not fill, and then having to turn around and build a fourth comprehensive high school elsewhere (with money Arlington does not have),” Megan Haydasz, an APS parent who’s advocated for more amenities at the Career Center, told ARLnow via email.

However, Kristi Sawert, the president of the Arlington Heights Civic Association and a member of the Career Center working group, pointed out that APS is already pretty far down the path when it comes to moving the Montessori program to the Henry building. The Board recently agreed to reprogram hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate the building to prepare for the Montessori students’ arrival, which she sees as an admission that “APS has no plans to tear it down to create a full-scale fourth high school (especially given that APS has a huge money deficit).”

“But I could be wrong,” she wrote in an email.

Still, that sort of option may well be on the table. Some Board members saw a need for more high school seats, but they didn’t share the same conviction that a fourth comprehensive school is the only way to achieve that goal.

“We’re going to have to put [these students] in a high school,” said Board member Nancy Van Doren. “1,300, 1,400 seats, that’s not enough, and we don’t have a school for all those kids in the [Capital Improvement Plan].”

Yet part of what drove Kanninen’s conviction that APS needs both new seats at the Career Center and a new high school is her belief that the county’s 10-year enrollment projections don’t tell the whole story.

Many of the new students planners expect to see in the coming years are young enough that they won’t be reaching high school by the time 2028 rolls around, convincing Kanninen that the data don’t paint a full picture of the school system’s in the distant future.

“The future kindergarteners you’re projecting won’t be in high school in 10 years, it’ll be 20 years,” Kanninen told APS staff at the Jan. 24 meeting. “We’re not seeing in this projection how many high school seats we are going to need… We need another high school down the road. We really need to clarify that story, and it’s really clear from this data in a way it never has been before.”

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