Thursday, August 14, 2014
I belong to the Abingdon School PTA and actually live in the immediate neighborhood of Abingdon School. Yes, Abingdon will be the next Ashlawn. Wooded wildlife area between Abingdon School and the Trades Center will be cut down and the open space that's now used as an informal playing field will become a synthetic field dedicated to field sports (soccer). Soccer Moms and Dads want it lighted. Parking lot will be enlarged. Architecture of the school building may or may not resemble Fairlington's colonial architecture. At least half the space in the renovated and expanded school will have nothing to do with education
As of now, nearby residents will not be involved in decision-making for Abingdon School at all. Community representatives will be appointed to the Building Level Advisory Committee by the PTA and civic association. They will do as they are told by APS.
My child will be in middle school after this year, maybe in another school system, so none of this will affect her. However, our neighborhood is going to be 'Ashlawned' for sure. For sure I'm voting for Audrey Clement for School Board. Undecided if I'm going to vote for the school bonds.
Thanks for this blog.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
I wondered what all the fuss was with the County Board and School Board and their respective Capital Improvement Plans. I attended a couple of School Board and County Board CIP work sessions. Two very authoritative APS employees dominated the discussions at all the School Board's CIP work sessions. They are John Chadwick, Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations, and Scott Prisco, APS's Director of Design and Construction. So I did a Web search on John Chadwick and Scott Prisco. You should too.
Turns out Mr. Chadwick and Mr. Prisco are a couple of high-priced New Urbanist architects. Appears that Mr. Chadwick retired after a successful career designing upscale buildings in the New York and DC area and was hired in 2011 by Coach Murphy and the School Board to be Assistant Sup for Facilities and Operations.
Scott Prisco was hired (apparently on a contract) by Coach Murphy and the School Board a year ago. Upscale is not a word that can describe Mr. Prisco. He and his architecture firm, EQ Architecture, formerly The Prisco Group, have earned hundreds of millions in commissions from upscale residential, commercial and public infrastructure projects. One of his recent commissions was to design the 'High School of the Future' in Philadelphia for Microsoft and Bill Gates. Same Bill Gates who's inflicting his 'Common Core Curriculum' educational agenda on school systems across America. So check it out on the Web. Is the 'High School of the Future' all about Microsoft software and hardware? Check out the photos of the school in operation. Does Scott Prisco's architecture merit the commissions he and his firm are paid? You decide
So what are John and Scott doing in Arlington? 'More Seats for Students', right? But what about three expensive New Urbanist projects underway since John Chadwick was hired by APS -- Williamsburg, Ashlawn, and Abingdon? Williamsburg residents were outraged to learn that Chadwick's Facilities Team (minus Prisco) targeted their single family home neighborhood for a lighted soccer complex. Chadwick's Facilities Team (minus Prisco) made a mess out of Ashlawn School renovation, and the neighbors are outraged to the point of complaining to the County Board.
Now Chadwick's Facilities Team (with Prisco) is apparently out to make Abingdon School into an elementary school version of Bill Gates's 'High School of the Future' with the kids' grass playing fields made over into a $1 million lighted field-sports complex.
As for Thomas Jefferson Middle School, the only way the New Urbanists get to cram 30,000 students into Arlington by 2021 is to build an elementary school on the TJ campus AND build expensive additions to a couple of existing elementary schools in South Arlington. Facilitated by the usual crew from the Arlington Democratic Committee. Or that's the plan as of the last School Board meeting. May change next School Board meeting.