Alexandria, VA

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) officials have laid out their ten-year plan to modernize the schools, and the work has already started on easing the sticker-shock that comes with it.

At a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7, Superintendent Gregory Hutchings walked the School Board through the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The CIP includes plans to spend $530 million over the next ten years on capital improvement projects, primarily focused on modernization and additions for schools.

That number also includes $127 million for assorted non-capacity projects, like replacing old facilities and upgrades to existing facilities.

The CIP lays out six modernization and capacity projects, with total budgets and projected completion dates.

  • High School Project: $158 million, scheduled to be completed 2025
  • Douglas MacArthur: $69 million, scheduled to be completed 2023
  • Transportation Facility: $7 million, scheduled to be completed 2025
  • George Mason: $68 million, scheduled to be completed 2027
  • Cora Kelly: $38 million, scheduled to be completed 2029
  • Matthew Maury: $6 million, scheduled to be completed 2033

The CIP also includes funding for a new school to address enrollment growth, budgeted for $57 million and slated to be completed in 2031.

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings noted that while the Matthew Maury Elementary School modernization has been in talks for years, this CIP is the first time it’s made an appearance in the schedule of upgrades.

The CIP is also front-loaded with some sizable costs, Hutchings noted, with $173 million in the budget this year for the expansion of T.C. Williams High School and the new Douglas MacArthur project.

“It’s a big number, $173 million dollars,” Hutchings admitted. “We’re working on two major capacity projects this year and the next several years. We’ve talked, and expressed this with our community, that those numbers were going to be high — that the ask was going to be bigger.”

This year, Priority 1 projects — those identified as critical by both an assessment of facilities and confirmed by ACPS staff — are budgeted for $25 million, bringing this year’s total CIP request to $198.8 million.

A School Board work session is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) to continue discussions on the CIP. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 25, at the ACPS central office (1340 Braddock Place). Approval of the CIP is scheduled for Dec. 19.

“We’re going to be quite busy over the next ten years,” Hutchings said. “It’s a significant amount of money, but as we talk about wanting to be the premier school division… this is what it’s going to cost us as a community, but I think that our young people are worth every cent.”

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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