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The Basilica of Saint Mary in Old Town is looking for city permission to make some expansions to the church grounds and make parts of the property more accessible.

The designs for a new bridge are headed to review at the Board of Architectural Review on Wednesday, July 21, as part of a broader process of adding to the Basilica School of Saint Mary. The church is hoping to add a new new library and media center to the campus, and install a connecting bridge that will help make the different parts of the facility more connected.

“The proposed addition consists of a two-story bridge connection between the main building and Stephen’s Hall,” the Catholic Diocese of Arlington said in its application. “The addition was initially presented to the BAR for concept review on April 3, 2019, while review of the associated development special use permit and preliminary site plan was underway.”

The BAR at the time endorsed the change and the DSUP for the site was approved by the City Council in April this year. The Catholic Diocese said in the application the goal of the addition is to

“The connection will provide a secure, interior path for students and faculty to walk between the buildings,” the applicant said. The proposed addition will provide the school with additional space to accommodate and enhance the experience of its students.”

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Update 6/1 — Potomac Crescent Waldorf School said reached out to ALXnow to provide an update on some of the details. PCWS is not planning to return to the Waypoint site after departing at the end of this year. The plan will also not have pickup or drop-off on St. Asaph’s Street.

Earlier: The kids at Potomac Crescent Waldorf School need a place to stay, and Old Town Community Church is offering to take them in.

According to an application headed to the Planning Commission next month, the private early elementary program is hoping to move into the church at 212 S. Washington Street for the beginning of the upcoming school year.

The Potomac Crescent Waldorf School teaches grades 1-3, as well as a preschool program and kindergarten program. The application noted that the new temporary stay will give students at the school an opportunity to explore local parks and museums once they reopen.

Under noise impacts, the application warned that nearby residents may hear an uptick in children playing flutes and ukuleles.

Photo via Potomac Crescent Waldorf School/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Early voting begins for June 8 Democratic primary — “Early voting will begin on April 23 for the June 8 Democratic primary election in the City of Alexandria. The ballot includes contests for Virginia Governor;Lieutenant Governor; Attorney General; House of Delegates (45th District); Mayor and City Council.” [Zebra]

Alexandria to renovate baseball field near Mount Vernon Community School — “The project is scheduled to begin Monday, April 26  and work will occur Monday through Friday from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Work is planned for the restoration of approximately 39,600 square feet turf. This includes the installation of irrigation. The work area will be closed to the public during the installation period.” [Zebra]

Bradlee-King Street road changes could be paused for resident input — “Earlier this year, the City of Alexandria planned to apply for a grant to fund significant changes along Upper King Street, including new bike lanes, narrowed car lanes, dedicated bus lanes and fewer left turns into a popular shopping center. Now, that grant application for the 0.5-mile stretch on King Street outside Bradlee Shopping Center may be put on hold as city officials go back to get resident input and make more specific plans for the roadway to meet expectations from the Virginia Dept. of Transportation (VDOT).” [Alexandria Living]

Church donates gift cards to elementary school families in need — “On Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Lazarus Ministry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church informed ACPS that they will be donating $5,400 for the purchase of gift cards for families in need at William Ramsay Elementary School.” [ACPS]

Titan volleyball team going to state championship — “T.C. Williams (16-0) advanced to the first state championship game in program history, which it will host Friday or Saturday.” [Washington Post]

Today’s weather — “Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. High near 65F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph… Mainly clear (in the evening). Low 41F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Dog groomer — “Join us at A Dog’s Day Out in Van Dorn! We passionately deliver a great dog experience composed of play, affection, and socialization – all in a safe, friendly, and clean environment. We offer doggie daycare, boarding, and grooming for dogs of all shapes and sizes who play nicely and want to hang with the gang.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Earl Lloyd statue unveiled at Charles Houston Recreation Center — “At the unveiling of the first African American NBA player, and Native Alexandrian, Earl Lloyd!” [Twitter]

Episcopal Church of the Resurrection opens new facility — “Inspiring Grand Opening of Episcopal Church of the Resurrection’s beautiful new church this morning! Honored and humbled to partner with you to create 113 new affordable homes adjacent to your new space.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Democratic Committee straw poll tonight — “Register to participate in our Almost Annual Straw Poll! It’s Virtual this year, and the link will be sent shortly before the event.” [AlexDems]

Alexandria Police offer condolences for fallen Capitol Police officer — “The Alexandria Police Dept. offers our most sincere condolences to @CapitolPolice for the loss of one of their officers in an attack at the U.S. Capitol. We also send our prayers to the second officer injured. Your families are in our thoughts.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. High 72F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy (in the evening). Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 52F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Dog walker/pet sitter — “DogOn Fitness is looking for confident, reliable, independent dog walkers to walk and exercise dogs in the Alexandria and Arlington area!” [Indeed]

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The Basilica School of Saint Mary (310 S Royal Street) in Old Town could grow by two new buildings if a new development application goes through.

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington is requesting permission to build a new library and media center at their 400 Green Street property.

“St. Mary’s has operated on the Property since 1948, and has grown and changed along with the needs of the student body and the community,” the diocese said in the application. “The proposed addition would connect two school buildings on the Property and allow students to safely travel between the two classroom buildings. Site improvements include reorienting the parking lot and student pick-up and drop-off area, adding one elevator for ADA accessibility, and other landscaping and playground improvements.

Even with the added buildings, the diocese said the floor area ratio (FAR) of 0.7 is still significantly below the permitted 1.5 FAR.

“The proposed addition connects the southeast corner of the Main Building with the northwest corner of Stephen’s Hall and contains approximately 19,298 square feet of floor area on the library level,” the diocese said.

The proposal will also add a new tower to the campus, described as “architecturally distinct from the existing cupola” but still borrowing from parts of the main design.

The new design also aims to cut down on the traffic from the school piling up on nearby streets.

“Currently, the existing pick-up and drop-off pattern involves significant queuing in surrounding streets and neighborhood,” the diocese said. “In order to internalize the pick-up and drop-off traffic, the Applicant proposes to reorient the pick-up and drop-off area to the rear of the school, behind the gym. Parents will enter the School from South Royal Street, drive under the proposed addition to the rear of the school, where faculty will direct the pick-up and drop-off process. To exit the School grounds, they will drive down a one-way alley along the western side of the Main Building and exit on to Green Street.”

The item is scheduled for review at the Thursday, April 8, Planning Commission meeting.

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St. Andrews United Methodist Church (845 N Howard Street) on Seminary Hill is seeking Planning Commission approval to demolish and rebuild its church on a smaller lot.

The church is headed to the Planning Commission on Tuesday, Jan. 5, seeking permission subdivide its current lot to reconstruct the church on one part of the property closer to the street and sell the rest to St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School.

The church requires city review for the subdivision and an exception to build the church closer to N. Howard Street than the currently mandated 60 feet.

A pastor at St. Andrews wrote on the church’s Facebook page in October 2019:

Yesterday St. Andrew’s UMC received approval to sell a portion of our property to St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes school. The sale includes our current church building. Upon approval by the City of Alexandria (a long, laborious process) we will construct a new facility on the portion of property we are retaining.

This is one of two pieces of a major restart for the St. Andrew’s family. There truly is New Life at St. Andrew’s. Stay tuned for further details to be announced soon. Bottom line-God is up to something good here, and we just want to avoid getting in His way.

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Morning Notes

City Opening Second Round of Small Business Loans — “Starting tomorrow @AlexandriaEcon will begin accepting applications for another $2.4M of grants for our small businesses. This is the second round of “Back to Business Grants” designed to aid business recovery. Apply online!” [Twitter]

Residents Invited to Join RiverRenew Advisory Committee — “AlexRenew is seeking a balanced and diverse group of citizens representing neighborhoods, businesses, and various interests who commit to being active and engaged in the stakeholder process.” [Zebra]

Deadline Today for Studio Space at Torpedo Factory — “The deadline to apply for studio space is September 30! Time is running out! Visit torpedofactory.org/artopps now for the quick application. Open to all visual artists ages 21+.” [Twitter]

Immanuel Church Pumpkin Patch Returning October 4 — ” The Immanuel Church on-the-Hill’s Pumpkin Patch is back! The Pumpkin Patch has been held each October for 27 years. The 2020 version is open every day from Oct. 4-31. Mondays to Fridays are noon to 6 p.m. and weekends are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.” [Zebra]

Myron Mixon’s Reopening in Old Town October 1 — “The restaurant, at 220 N. Lee Street near the Old Town waterfront, made its announcement Monday night. The restaurant’s namesake is a four-time world barbecue champion, cookbook author, television host and more. The Alexandria restaurant opened in early 2017.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s Weather — “Mainly sunny (during the day). High 71F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. Clear (in the evening). Low 56F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: ACPS Communications Specialist — “Responsible for researching, developing, implementing and evaluating communications for special projects to include capital projects, facilities projects, communication projects and projects that support schools, departments and the superintendent.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Refutes Trump’s Claims of Media Spin Over Tax Payments — “No, ‘everyone else’ didn’t write off payments to their children and $70,000 for haircuts so they could live a lavish lifestyle while only paying $750 in taxes. Trump remains the only major party candidate for president in 40 years who refused to release his tax returns.” [Twitter]

ACPS Asks Community to Discuss Future Facilities Projects, School Sites — “As ACPS and the City start looking at the need to rebuild, replace, add to or modernize schools, fire stations, police facilities and more, local officials are asking for feedback on the Joint City-ACPS Facilities Master Plan.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Chefs Compete on ‘Chopped’ Reality Show Tonight — “Alexandria chef-owner Mimi Huynh of modern Vietnamese restaurant Sunday in Saigon at 682 N. St. Asaph Street and chef Chris Edwards of newly opened Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen, located at 600 Montgomery Street, will appear on Food Network’s “Chopped” tomorrow night.” [Zebra]

Longtime Friends Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists — “When Aiden Crowe, Nikolai Kosinski and Caroline Winakur reached eighth grade at George Washington Middle School, their math ability was such that the trio were literally in a class of their own. Algebra 2 with Sarah Devito became a class of three as teachers sought to individualize learning in the subject area they all excelled at. They have remained good friends ever since. And earlier this month, the T.C. Williams High School seniors discovered they had all been named National Merit Scholarship semi finalists after outstanding results in the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last October.” [ACPS]

Today’s Weather — “Rain showers in the morning then thundershowers in the afternoon. High 74F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rain likely (in the evening). Low 56F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch. Locally heavy rainfall possible.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Marketing Communications Specialist — “To be successful in this position, the Marketing Communications Specialist must demonstrate strong persuasive writing skills, strong digital layout design skills and be an overall expert in digital and social media marketing.” [Indeed]

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A local church is offering the ultimate tech support: a divine blessing for local students’ laptops.

This Sunday, Sept. 6, at 5:30 p.m.,Trinity United Methodist Church (2911 Cameron Mills Road) is planning to host an Outdoor Blessing of the Chromebooks & Ice Cream Social (Social Distanced Edition).

“We invite you to join Pastor Grace and Hannah Day Donoghue for an end of the summer celebration,” the church said. “Anyone starting any kind of school is welcome to bring their Chromebook, or an item from their desk/school working space to be blessed for the new school year. We will pair this with individually wrapped ice cream, to take home with you!”

ACPS has distributed thousands of Chromebooks to students to prepare for the online-only start of the school year. Ecclesiastical accessories were not included distribution, but those hoping for some additional theology in their tech can sign up for the program online or contact Program Director Hannah Day Donoghue at [email protected]

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We made it to Friday in Alexandria! That was some week.

With the end of summer approaching, Alexandria City Public Schools are gearing up for virtual-only classes this fall, although a number of the city’s private schools are reopening. This week, however, Bishop Ireton High School resumed in-person classes.

A number of other private schools in the city are also reopening, including Episcopal High School (in October), Alexandria Country Day School and Immanuel Lutheran School.

ALIVE!, which has given away hundreds of thousands of pounds of food during the pandemic, announced it was making its annual walkathon a virtual experience next month. The nonprofit also needs volunteers as needs are increasing, according to Executive Director Jennifer Ayers.

Not included in this week’s list is Thursday’s story about a pilgrimage for racial healing from Charlottesville to D.C., which stopped in Alexandria. The group made it in time to D.C. today to recognize the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

What stories impacted you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. City Issues Self-Quarantine Advisory After COVID Outbreak at West End Church
  2. Alexandria Police Increase Presence to Stem Uptick of Violent Crime in Parker Gray/Old Town
  3. Alexandria Needs Help Running the November Election
  4. Demonstrations Continue at Acting DHS Chief Chad Wolf’s Alexandria Home
  5. City Updates Zoning Ordinance to Allow Density Boost for Schools
  6. Man Injured in Violent West End Carjacking Last Month
  7. King Street Metro Improvement Project Pushed Back to Spring 2021
  8. New Restaurant Concept Opens Next Month in Old Town Hotel
  9. Proposed Regulatory Changes Cut Back Red Tape for Alexandria Businesses
  10. What Does Southern Towers’ Acquisition by CIM Group Mean for Alexandria Affordable Housing?
  11. Saunas and Ice Baths: A New Coworking Office Focusing on Wellness Opens in Old Town

Have a safe weekend!

Image via Kidane Mehret Church/Facebook

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