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A new permit filed with the City of Alexandria indicates that some changes could be underway for the Campagna Center at 418 South Washington Street.

The building, constructed in 1888, was once part of the Alexandria City Public Schools system as a school and later as administrative offices. It was converted into office space in 1981 and was purchased by local child education nonprofit Campagna Center in 1993.

The application lists a series of changes that make for a pretty extensive overhaul to the building. The Campagna Center is looking to replace all windows and sill around the building, replace the several brick walls and gates, create a new entrance at the main doorway on the west side (facing S. Washington Street) and create a new eastern entrance that will bring the building into code compliance.

Campagna Center entrance changes, image via City of Alexandria

Overall, a staff report on the proposed changes recommended approval.

“After careful review of the existing structure to identify existing historic fabric, staff supports the proposed alterations to the historic structure at 418 South Washington Street and recommends approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness [with conditions],” the report said.

The application is scheduled for review at the Board of Architectural Review on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

The full list of proposed changes are listed below the jump.

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It was a clear and slightly brisk Saturday afternoon (Dec. 4) in Old Town for the Campagna Center’s 50th Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.

The parade, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, is one of the most popular events in the city.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner was the grand marshal, and along with the mayor and other local dignitaries, waved at dozens of Scottish clans and bagpiping groups, including the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums.

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Bagpiper at the Scottish Christmas parade (photo via Campagna Center/Facebook)

The Campagna Center is hosting the 50th annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend with the iconic parade scheduled for Saturday, Dec.4.

The parade is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. and will be marshaled by Sen. Mark Warner. The event is planned to start at St. Asaph and Queen Streets and end outside City Hall.

“At the Campagna Center’s iconic Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, dozens of Scottish clans dressed in colorful tartans parade through the streets of Old Town, joined by pipe and drum bands from around the region, as well as terriers and hounds,” Visit Alexandria said on its website.

The event was canceled last year.

Photo via The Campagna Center/Facebook

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While the Scottish Christmas Parade is cancelled this year, President and CEO of The Campagna Center Tammy Mann said the non-profit’s early childhood programs that rely on the fundraising this weekend are no less in demand.

Usually, The Campagna Center hosts a holiday store, where families can come into the building and an entire floor is dedicated to giving low-income families a positive holiday shopping experience. This year, The Campagna Center is planning an alternative drive-through program on Saturday for families in the program.

“Given health challenge, not going to be able to set it up that way,” Mann said. “We have about 400 families that we’re going to be providing books, grocery gift cards, and stocking stuffers for children. We’re grateful that we’re able to do it, and I know our families have been incredibly responsive to the many ways we’ve adapted and been able to get things to them during this period… But obviously if we could have that experience, that would be what you would want, so parents could choose the things they want.”

Mann said instead of allowing children to pick their own gifts, The Campagna Center staff packaged toys for children.

Mann also said the Scottish Christmas Parade is one of the most high-visible events for The Campagna Center, and she’s worried future programs won’t have the kind of fundraising and support the parade. Weekend events hosted around the Scottish Christmas Parade generally bring in around $250,000 for The Campagna Center.

“While parade is not happening, needs we have to address since pandemic began go on,” Mann said. “We are definitely wanting people to be aware of the cause behind it and find ways to contribute and support the work.”

That funding goes to support programs like one that provides an in-person learning space for children K-5 if their parents are not able to work from home. The in-person learning program has been in operation at two sites since classes started this summer.

Mann said the program has already been more expensive than it usually is because of the added cost of PPE and COVID testing for staff.

“The cost of taking all of that on has been something where we had to get creative on raising funds to support,” Mann said. “Parents are not evenly sharing in that because it’s a sliding payscale based on income.”

Donations can be made to the program through their website: either in small donations starting at $25 or larger donations for companies, organizations or individuals called Guardian Angels.

As Mann looks to the next year, she said it’s difficult to plan what comes next with the situation being as uncertain as it is.

“The need for after care services will continue to exist,” Mann said, “[but it’s] hard to predict what that will look and feel like. “

Right now, Mann said her focus is on adapting to changing plans for school structure. The Campagna Center also continues to operate an emergency diaper bank for families and offering tutoring services.

“There are a number of outreach efforts underway in December that, as families move into the holidays, there are things they won’t have to worry about or figure out how to make happen,” Mann said. “We appreciate all that folk have done in the city.”

Photo via The Campagna Center/Facebook

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