The Joint City Schools Facilities Investment Task Force has recommended a new high school, a new purpose-built swing space and a new gym for the West End Elementary School among the most urgent projects for Alexandria in the next few years.
The Task Force, which was established in May to oversee the development of a joint City and Schools Capital Improvement Program, presented their recommendations to the City at their retreat last week and to the School Board on Thursday.
Among the recommendations for the next nine years were:
- Building a new high school with construction beginning in FY 2021
- Adding a new gym to the West End Elementary School in FY 2019
- Building swing space to be used during the modernization of three elementary schools; funding for this project was moved out one year and split for design in FY 2020 and construction in FY 2021
- Building the swing space to be flexible to be able to accommodate the new middle school capacity needs once it is no longer needed for elementary swing space
- Moving the modernization of Douglas MacArthur Elementary School back by two years so that the design would begin in FY 2022
- Moving the construction work to modernize George Mason Elementary School back by two years
- Moving the modernization of Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology back by one year so that the design would begin in FY 2026
- Allocating $50 million to purchase land to be used by the City or Schools for future projects as needed
- Moving the building of the new ACPS transportation facility back a year and combining it City facility projects
- Allocating $2 million for the creation of a joint facilities master plan
The Task Force did not recommend allocating funds for a second pre-K center, or the design of updates to Matthew Maury Elementary School. They also recommended removing funding for the design work for a new elementary school.
From the City’s requested list of Capital Improvement Program projects, the Task Force recommended funding the renovation of City Hall, updating market square plaza and repairing the garage, funding two fire station projects and renovating the Old Town pool, though the timing of these projects did not remain consistent with their original proposal.
The Task Force did not recommend funding a new firing range, the modernization of Chinquapin pool or the Seminary Road fire station project.
The nine-member Task Force, made up of six City appointees and three ACPS appointees, will present recommendations regarding policy in December. These are expected to include the possibility of sharing maintenance of certain facilities between the two entities, alternative project delivery methods and a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) development process.
The recommendations of the Task Force will be considered by City Council in their CIP appropriations voted on in May. They balanced their recommendations to $539 million in anticipated funding for facilities projects over the next nine years.