Friday, April 11, 2014
School Board to Massively Borrow for New Schools, Additions
Arlington School Board held an important 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Program Work Session last night. According to presentations by Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Management Services Deirdre McLaughlin and Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and operations John Chadwick, the Arlington Public School System will be hard pressed to both borrow enough through issuing bonds and find enough sites to build all the new classrooms and other infrastructure the school system will need by FY 2022.
APS will not have enough borrowing capability to build the classrooms and other infrastructure needed by FY 22 when new classrooms are actually needed. The school system will need to borrow at least $450 million by FY 2022 for new and replacement infrastructure.
Regarding capacity, the school system plans significantly expand Abingdon Elementary School and build a new elementary school on County-owned land somewhere in South Arlington. (The school system is apparently not aware that a major infill redevelopment will occur at Park Shirlington, which is adjacent to Abingdon School, at the same time Abingdon School is expanded).
APS is considering repurposing existing school sites for a new middle school (HB Woodlawn and Arlington Traditional School are being considered).
APS thinks it can jam 2000 or more students into Wakefield, Yorktown, and Washington-Lee by repurposing interior space, and building an addition at W-L.
APS considered leasing commercial building space but found that option would be too expensive. The school system has apparently not considered buying and renovating an existing commercial building to be used as a school.
Details are going to be on the Arlington Public Schools Web site in the near future.