The School Board voted on Thursday to move funds initially allocated for the lease of a new school for the purchase of a new building in the West End at 1701 and 1705 North Beauregard Street.
This forward-thinking action by the School Board helps add 638 seats to the West End, while saving over $60 million of taxpayers money over the next ten years that would have gone on leasing the building,” said Board Chair Karen Graf.
The School Board and ACPS staff have been actively performing the necessary due diligence on the property at 1701 and 1705 North Beauregard Street since last July. Staff has reviewed the building condition, academic programming feasibility, covenant modifications, and land use requirements.
The building and adjacent garage, together estimated at a sales price of $15 million, are believed to be the optimal solution for addressing elementary capacity issues in the West End, given its square footage, location and good building condition.
Staff is estimating that it will cost an additional $23.2 million to retrofit the building, an amount that has already been budgeted. The purchase would include the parking garage adjacent to the building, part of which would be converted into outdoor space for students at the school. Additionally, the total cost to establish a separate pre-K Center at John Adams Elementary School is approximately $1 million.
The new West End school and the John Adams pre-K center is expected to be ready to open in September 2018 — the same time the new Patrick Henry School will open its doors to students. The implementation of the new school boundaries is also scheduled for fall of 2018. This would mean that all student movements for boundary changes, new schools and pre-K would be scheduled to take place at the same time, simplifying and streamlining what would otherwise be a complicated logistical process.
The purchase of this building is a step towards our goal of creating optimal learning environments as outlined in the ACPS 2020 Strategic plan, as well as helping resolve some of the West End capacity issues we are experiencing,” said Superintendent Dr. Crawley.
A West End school, along with the increased size of the new Patrick Henry School, will help ease ACPS capacity issues. This school year marks the first time that the ACPS student population has exceeded the seats available. Division-wide capacity based on the Long Range Plan currently has approximately 1,200 fewer seats than the projected 2016-17 student enrollment. This seating deficit is projected to increase further in the next five years. By Fiscal Year 2026, ACPS is projected to have approximately 20,000 students, up from 15,220 today.