Letter Sent to ACB and APS about Elementary School Need within 22202
TO: Arlington County Board
Arlington County School Board
Chair, South Arlington Working Group (SAWG)
FM: Arlington Ridge Civic Association Aurora Highlands Civic Association Crystal City Civic Association
RE: South Arlington Elementary School Site Selection
October 15, 2015
We write to advise that all three Civic Associations representing the citizens in our 22202 community are of a like mind with regard to the need and desire for construction of a new elementary school within the next decade, the sooner the better, to be located centrally within our community. Oakridge is already the most populous elementary school in the entire County, as well as the most over-enrolled school in south Arlington. Moreover, given the high-rise, residential development the County has already approved for construction in 22202 in the coming years, the need for an additional school to be paired with and augment the capacity of Oakridge is inevitable and will soon become urgent.
The SAWG has identified three possible sites for a new school in 22202, Gunston, River House, and Virginia Highlands Park, particularly where the Aurora Hills library and community center are currently located on the separate parcel of land that was designated in the 1976 Pentagon City Phased Development Site Plan (Condition #44) for the location of County facilities. Unfortunately, while conceptual plans for a new school in 22202 have been developed for the Gunston and River House properties, none have been developed for this more central and potentially ideal site which makes it impossible to evaluate and compare the pros and cons of all three sites. Accordingly, we strongly urge the County and School Board to fund and promptly develop, as a first step in a participatory siting process, one or more conceptual plans for a multi- use facility on that site which would contain a new library and community center, together with an elementary school. (Our three Civic Associations stand ready to ensure well-informed community participation in such a siting process.) Further, we ask that construction of a new elementary school in 22202 be included in the upcoming CIP.
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF:
/s/ Sandra Borden ______________________ Crystal City Civic Ass’n
/s/ Joel Nelson ________________________
Aurora Highlands Civic Ass’n
/s/ Arthur Fox _______________________ Arlington Ridge Civic Ass’n
At the South Arlington Working Group meeting (Sept. 16th), Thomas Jefferson park, Drew Elementary School and Gunston received the most votes, in descending order, for further consideration as potential sites for a new elementary school in South Arlington within the 2019 time frame. Aurora Hills/Virginia Highlands is still being considered in conjunction with the River House plan for another school site beyond 2019. Discussion regarding Aurora Hills/Virginia Highlands and River House included as a possibility a school at the Aurora Hills community center/library/fire station site and moving the community center/library to the River House property. (Please note that this information is preliminary and we will have updates with more accurate info as we receive it). Read more about Virginia Highlands Park.
The Arlington Ridge Civic Association will be discussing these topics at their meeting this evening, 7pm, Sept. 17th, at Aurora Hills Community Center. Public is allowed.
What is FoAHP doing about this?
1. FoAHP is working closely with Arlington Parks Coalition to bring attention county-wide to the threat of using our parks for a new school site, including Virginia Highlands Park.
2. We are discussing our concerns about locating a school on the park, while being supportive and working on presenting alternative sites to multiple members of the South Arlington Working Group.
3. We are working with the Parks and Recreation Commission sharing our already current concerns with losing green space at Virginia Highlands Park.
4. Attending South Arlington Working Group meetings for the latest updates first hand.
5. Educating neighbors about this critical issue through our emails, newsletter, and meetings.
6. Arranging meetings with central groups and persons to help the FoAHP supporters get a chance to discuss their concerns and to go over their questions.
Please make sure to add your email to the newsletter on the home page or you can email us at info@FriendsofAHparks.org and ask to be added.