ACPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. and City Manager Mark Jinks have discussed the potential that using the old school would be a fiscally responsible option that could also speed up the modernization of Alexandria’s elementary schools while saving taxpayers up to $60 million. If deemed feasible, the $60 million saved in this project could be reinvested in other school projects sooner and help mitigate rising costs.
The former Patrick Henry school building would be refurbished and used as the temporary location for Douglas MacArthur Elementary School. This plan would allow an approximate two year acceleration of Douglas MacArthur, with design work beginning this year and construction starting as early as 2021.
The modernization of the school — built in the 1940s and with eight windowless classrooms and insufficient space for its 700 students — had been pushed back in the absence of suitable temporary swing space for the students and staff during any rebuild. If the option moves ahead, Douglas MacArthur students and staff would relocate to the old Patrick Henry building beginning September 2020 for up to two years while their own new school is built.