Alexandria, VA

The Alexandria School Board is scheduled to work on narrowing down the site plan for Douglas MacArthur Elementary School to two potential designs at its meeting tomorrow (Thursday) night.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Alexandria City Public Schools headquarters (1340 Braddock Place).

The two concepts — called “Y” and “Forest” for certain elements of their design — were narrowed down from an original field of five options.

The Y option puts the new school close to Janneys Lane, mostly along a long central corridor, with athletic fields and play areas located behind the building near a heavily wooded area. At the western end of the hallway, it splits with a gym at the north end of the school — giving the building its Y shape.

The Forest option would put most of the school closer to the wooded area, with the play and athletics areas located on the east end of the site.

At a community meeting last week, parents and community members expressed preferences and concerns regarding the proposals. Some said they believed the Forest design would make the athletic and playfields more accessible for public use when school isn’t in session, while others said the accessibility and proximity to the street was concerning. Staff said whatever design was chosen would have fencing around the building.

At its meeting, the School Board will also likely discuss co-locating city facilities at the site, something city officials have pushed for in recent years but which has received some pushback from local residents.

“Options for co-location could include additional recreation space, affordable or workforce housing, or added health services, co-located on the site with Douglas MacArthur Elementary School,” ACPS said in a press release. “ACPS and the City intend to explore feasible and appropriate co-location opportunities within the chosen concept, although the ACPS educational program for the new school will take priority.”

The final vote on the concept for MacArthur Elementary is scheduled to take place at the Thursday, Feb. 6 School Board meeting.

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