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Douglas MacArthur Elementary School ribbon cutting is next Friday

A rendering of the completed Douglas MacArthur Elementary School at 4633 Taney Avenue (via Facebook)

(Updated 8/11) After years in development, City and Alexandria City Public Schools leaders will cut the ribbon of the refurbished Douglas MacArthur Elementary School next Friday (August 18).

The project took three years of planning and two years of construction, and the 154,000-square-foot school at 1101 Janneys Lane will open for the first day of classes on August 21.

During the last two years, MacArthur students used the old Patrick Henry Elementary School as swing space. The new school has an 840-student capacity and ACPS projects the student population to stay at around 775 students over the course of the next decade.

MacArthur’s three-level “Forest” plan sets the school back from Janneys Lane, putting classrooms at the rear of the building and providing a view of nearby Forest Park. The $75 million project was initially planned to wrap in January, and construction delays elicited criticism from Vice Mayor Amy Jackson.

Jackson has one child who graduated from MacArthur in the swing space and another who will attend the refurbished school.

“I was concerned that construction wasn’t getting off the ground fast enough,” Jackson told ALXnow. “My children wanted to see the school one more time before they started, but I realized that we could still get on the property. So I took a video, as much as it caused angst with the community and school board, but when I’m asking staff several times and can’t get an answer, I took it to the public and sure enough the ball then got rolling the fencing was put up on the perimeter and they got the ball rolling.”

The event includes a brief tour and will be held from 9:30 to 10:15 am. Remarks will be made by Mayor Justin Wilson, School Board Chair Michelle Rief, ACPS Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt, ACPS Chief Operating Officer Alicia Hart and MacArthur Principal Penny Hairston.

ACPS will share the event on Facebook Live.

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