Alexandria, Va. — It was the trees that did it. Plus a strong community desire to connect the new school building with nature, and wrap the whole project in an eco-friendly bow. Last night, the Alexandria School Board unanimously voted to move forward with the “Forest” concept for the new Douglas MacArthur Elementary School building.
The design provides for plenty of open space for children to play both inside and outside school hours, and it takes advantage of the wooded area already existing behind the school site.
“We are excited to take this step toward providing the MacArthur community the school they have long been waiting for,” said School Board Chair Cindy Anderson.
First GREEN School Building for ACPS
The new school building will be the first school in the City of Alexandria to be net-zero energy ready, in line with the City’s green building policy. The final design will be environmentally friendly and energy efficient and will be set up ready to generate as much energy as it uses.
The new school is expected to open its doors in January 2023.
Affordable Housing Co-Location Idea Scrubbed
The option of colocating affordable/workforce housing on the site was ruled out last week following a joint statement released by the City of Alexandria and ACPS (PDF). The City Manager and Superintendent agreed that it was essential to “keep the MacArthur project on its unique, and extremely tight planning, design and construction schedule.”
Exploring housing is likely to have delayed the project and extended the use for swing space. Instead, other forms of colocation such as for after-school recreational facilities and programming and pre-K space will continue to be explored for the new MacArthur building.
The architects will continue to meet with the Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group and community throughout the spring as the project moves into the design phase.
MacArthur staff and students will say goodbye to the old building in June through collaborative alumni, community, staff and student art and video projects, as well as a farewell celebration.