Alexandria, VA

Alexandria City Public Schools has some big projects on its plate, but at a School Board meeting last Thursday, many of the smaller projects discussed could have a big impact on the schools.

The meeting discussed the top priorities for non-capacity improvements next year. While several schools are slated for sweeping modernization projects over the next ten years, the Capital Improvement Program upgrades could provide some stop-gap improvements in the meantime.

Francis C. Hammond Middle School was one of those schools that was not on the list for modernization and capacity upgrades, but staff said an assessment of school facilities unequivocally deemed it “the worst school.”

“They were very concerned that it’s not in the ten year CIP,” staff said at the meeting. “Items we have on here [will be] bringing that up to par in the upcoming years.”

There are $4.9 million dollars in upgrades planned for the school in the CIP, with a recurring theme of trying to mitigate flooding and leakage prevalent throughout the school.

  • Building envelope repair: cafeteria window replacement and mitigation for flooding in the stairwell and gym
  • Flooring repair or replacement: replacement of the auxiliary gym floor
  • HVAC repair or replacement: replacement of HVAC systems that have reached the end of their life-cycle
  • Plumbing and restroom upgrades: reconstruction of second-floor toilets and refinishing those on the first floor
  • Renovations and reconfigurations: this item includes several projects around the school, mainly centered around preventing flooding
  • Roof repair or replacement: adds a new roof to the D-Wing of the school
  • Site hardscape repair or replacement: regrading of the courtyard and adding new pipes
  • Stormwater management: maintenance work around the school

The courtyard regrading was seen as particularly crucial at the school. According to staff, the roof drains directly down into the courtyard and the pipes don’t have the capacity to drain the water quickly enough, meaning water pools there and leaks down into the cafeteria below.

“There’s a chance for a community pool there,” one of the school board members quipped. “We need another one.”

Stormwater management was also noted by staff as a problem at Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School. The CIP allocated $566,741 for renovations to the gym and upgrades for the parking garage. Staff said leaky pipes in the parking garage pour water down onto cars and led one staff member to note that it frequently looks like “it’s raining inside Ferdinand T. Day.”

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 25, in ACPS headquarters (1340 Braddock Place) and final adoption is scheduled for Dec. 19.

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