In March 2019, the School Board directed the Superintendent to more fully explore options to increase learning spaces and educational programming solutions for our growing Alexandria high school population. The alternatives considered included building a second high school or expanding the existing T.C. Williams High School onto multiple campuses, creating a Connected High School Network.
From June 2019 to August 2019, an educational design team — including teachers, students and staff from ACPS — developed a bird’s eye view of educational program themes that could apply in either setting.
At the same time, site and development studies were conducted by ACPS staff, design consultants and real estate professionals that researched land options and development potential.
On September 26, the School Board will consider these findings and vote on a way forward, allowing ACPS to update the FY 2021 budget estimate for High School Project funding that will fully deliver new and exciting high school spaces and programming within the next five years.
The High School Project Educational Programming and Site Analysis report (PDF) combines both studies. The Educational Design Team made four recommendations for educational programming approaches. The report also provides a narrative on the search for Alexandria site options, and provides the public with an initial explanation of six locations for high school expansion possibilities. In September 2019, approximate costs and further cost considerations will be added, providing the School Board with a thorough set of factors to help guide their decision.
- One notable result of the site analysis is the fact that, despite a lengthy and exhaustive search to solicit for space from private landowners to meet our high school needs, none were offered or found to be available.
- That finding means that ACPS must consider using land already owned or assigned by the City to the school division, such as land on the George Washington Middle School grounds, land on the Francis C. Hammond Middle School grounds, land on the T.C. Williams Minnie Howard Campus grounds, land on the T.C. Williams King Street Campus grounds and Potomac Yard site (from the City’s Small Area plan) for any additional building.
- Knowing these are the sites we have to work with has allowed our architects to conduct early studies on the size of buildings that are possible and the impacts to traffic, transportation and other services.
Next steps: Site and cost comparisons are currently being completed in preparation for the next Board work session on September 19, 2019, as well as for the September 26, 2019 School Board decision on the two high schools approach or a Connected High School Network.