School Board Approves Ten Year Plan to Update Schools

The School Board voted unanimously to fund all items listed as “priority one” in a recent Targeted Facilities Conditions Assessment.

Alexandria, VA – The School Board voted unanimously on December 19 to fund all items listed as “priority one” in a recent Targeted Facilities Conditions Assessment that assesses the needed facilities work. This includes roof and window repairs that contribute to water intrusion in some of our aging buildings.

It also voted to fund upgrades to ACPS’ security systems, including fire and life safety systems and multiple projects that will improve environmental health.

Capacity and Modernization Items

Continuing its push to update its aging infrastructure, the Board voted to support an aggressive modernization timeline that will undertake the modernization of three elementary schools; the design for one elementary school; and the design and construction for one other new school over the next ten years. It also voted to increase funding for a new building on the current Minnie Howard Campus site — part of the campus model for T.C. Williams High School.

The initial concept design work for a new building for Douglas MacArthur Elementary School began this fall and the building is expected to be ready for students to begin learning in their new school by January 2023. George Mason Elementary School is scheduled to begin modernization in 2023, Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology will begin modernization in 2026, and Matthew Maury Elementary School will begin modernization in 2030. Each of these projects, plus the addition of a new school starting in 2028, will make significant progress in addressing capacity concerns in line with joint City-Schools enrollment projections.

The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budget also includes $158.2 million for The High School Project in FY 2021 and 2022. The project includes plans for a new 1,600-student building on the current Minnie Howard site, expanding the current capacity of T.C. Williams High School to accommodate student enrollment growth over the next ten years as part of a Connected High School Network. The total cost of the project will now be $178.9 million, including the $20.7 million previously funded and partially used in 2018-19 to support the educational visioning, program design and project planning. Existing funds will continue to be used to carry the project through the next two years of design work.

Maintenance Projects and Non-Capacity Items

A total of $25.7 million has been allocated to non-capacity projects that are deemed to be “priority one” projects, or projects that are critical to the safety, security and upkeep of schools and ACPS facilities. This year, projects were assigned to the FY 2021-30 Capital Improvement Program Budget following the conditions assessment of six facilities that offered a method to prioritize the need for non-capacity upgrades across the school division.

For the second consecutive year, the FY 2021-30 Capital Improvement Program Budget will also include textbook adoptions to ensure ACPS stays current with Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning.

Next Steps

ACPS has been systematically modernizing aging elementary facilities as part of the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan, which strives for safe, optimal learning environments that support academic success for all. The City and ACPS have continued to work collaboratively to align their budget processes to make this possible. Alignment of capital planning across the city — as recommended by the Joint City-Schools Facilities Task Force in January 2018 — helps ensure that all the infrastructure needs of the city can be assessed as a whole.

The Capital Improvement Program Budget will form part of the City Manager’s Budget presentation to City Council on February 18, 2020. It will then go through six work sessions and the add/delete process before being approved by City Council in May 2020. The budget will then come back to the School Board for their final approval in May 2020.

The FY 2021-30 CIP:

  • Funds modernization projects across all grade levels over the next ten years.
  • Will relieve capacity while also upgrading aging facilities at elementary and high school levels.
  • Moves the modernization of Douglas MacArthur Elementary School to FY 2021.
  • Re-allocates funds originally proposed for building new temporary swing space for elementary schools to The High School Project.
  • Includes adjustments of costs in line with inflation.
  • Is aligned with the Targeted Facilities Conditions Assessment of six facilities that prioritizes non-capacity upgrades across the school division.
  • Includes funding for significant repairs/work identified in the Targeted Facilities Conditions Assessment at Francis C. Hammond Middle School, George Washington Middle School, George Mason Elementary School, and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, and upgrades to the Transportation Facility.
  • Includes a total of $25.7 million in FY 2021 allocated to non-capacity projects that are deemed critical.
  • Includes multiple projects that will improve environmental health.
  • Includes upgrades to ACPS’ security systems as well as technology upgrades for school facilities, transportation and IT to support security needs.
  • Includes upgrades to fire and life safety systems.
  • Includes textbook adoptions to ensure ACPS stays current with Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning.
  • Includes the modernization of George Mason Elementary School, scheduled to begin in 2023.
  • Includes the modernization of Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, scheduled to begin in 2026.
  • Includes the modernization of Matthew Maury Elementary School, scheduled to begin in 2030.
  • Includes a new school, scheduled for design in 2028.
  • Includes $158.2 million for The High School Project in FY 2021 and 2022 for a new 1,600-student building on the current Minnie Howard site.

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