South Arlington Working Group Meeting Notes

First Meeting, Thursday, June 25, 2015

The purpose of this first meeting was to do introductions and set clear expectations and goals for the group. The purpose of the working group is to identify one or more locations for a new elementary school in south Arlington, to be built by December 2019. The school is intended to be a neighborhood school, which means students will be automatically admitted based on their place of residence.

We reviewed the minimum requirements for a school site – namely a building, parking, and outdoor space. There were many questions and answers about the specifics requirements for school locations – a record of those is attached with the meeting minutes.

Both the county and the school board have proposed criteria for the selection of the school site. Working group members were asked to select the criteria they felt most important. The top criteria selected, in order of priority, included:
1. Diversity
2. Area of Greatest Need
3. Time Constraints (Selecting a site that could be ready by December 2019)
4. Programming
5. Adaptability and Co-location Opportunities
5. Green Space

Importantly for our neighborhood, there was quite a bit of discussion about new buildings going up on the west end of Columbia Pike and making sure we get the population estimates right. There is some concern that the current estimates are low for our part of the county, and that we need to be focused on getting a school in the western part of South Arlington. The working group staff were responsive to this concern and plan to have a future meeting to discuss the population projections in depth.

Working group meetings are all open to the public and we encourage you to attend, or contact us directly if you’d like to provide input. All meetings will be held in the Wakefield High School cafeteria, very convenient and walkable for our neighborhood. Meetings are held from 7 to 9pm.

The upcoming meetings are:
Wednesday, July 1 – to consider locations owned by Arlington Public Schools
Wednesday, July 15 – to consider locations owned by Arlington County, including the Thomas Jefferson site
Wednesday, July 29 – to consider alternative, non-traditional locations (some ideas proposed at the meeting include unused commercial space)

Hope to hear from you or see you there!

Katie Meyer Simeon and Sherry Boedges