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Alexandria breaks ground on new Minnie Howard campus expansion

Minnie Howard groundbreaking, photo via Canek Aguirre/Twitter

The long-discussed and debated Minnie Howard project — part of adapting Alexandria City High School to handle ever-increasing capacity — finally broke ground yeterday.

City and school officials gathered at the site to mark the beginning of construction on a new Minnie Howard campus. The project is scheduled to be constructed around the current school and open in the 2024-2025 school year.

Capacity at the project is planned to increase to 1,600 students and changed from just 9th-grade students to all high school grades. Some concerns still linger about transportation between the two campuses, which involves crossing the very busy three-way intersection at West Braddock Road, King Street and North Quaker Lane.

School Board Chair Meagan Alderton said the Minnie Howard project is a new standard for Alexandria school development.

“This project isn’t just an example of space for kids,” Alderton said. “We started this project thinking about: what type of educational community do we want our high school to be? This is one small part of a bigger project that is ongoing. When this building opens, we will have a high school that is designed to meet the needs of each and every kid.”

Alderton said future school development will also need to incorporate educational program elements into the school design.

Emily Milton, a student representative on the School Board and a junior at Alexandria City High School, reflected fondly on her experience at Minnie Howard, though like many students Milton’s time at the school was cut short by Covid.

“Both my parents attended T.C. Williams High School,” Milton said. “[My friends and I] were so excited to be high schoolers. I was only at Minnie Howard for half the time I was supposed to, due to Covid, but I still had some of the best months of my life here. We got to attend homecoming, winter formal, and all the sports games as real high school students.”

Photo via Canek Aguirre/Twitter

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