After the planned rebuilding of St. Andrews United Methodist Church, St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School (1000 St. Stephens Road) has submitted plans to expand the private school with new buildings and parking.

According to the Development Special Use Permit (DSUP), the plan is to increase enrollment capacity at the school from 480 students to 520 students, as well as modernizing some of the school’s dated facilities.

The new plan will also add a total of 20 parking spaces to the school to accommodate the student body increase. The new development will include temporary trailers for students while construction is underway.

The plans are scheduled for review at the Tuesday, Feb. 2 Planning Commission meeting.

Image via City of Alexandria

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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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Right now, Alexandria high schools are coordinating how sports are going to work for teams of students who are champing at the bit to get back into their respective games.

“We have a plan,” Jim Harris, the T.C. Williams High School coordinator of student activities, said in a recent Zoom call with the Alexandria Sportsmen’s Club. “We’re just waiting for approval to get on the field and actually start conditioning.”

T.C. Williams High School is gearing up for cheerleading and basketball to start on December 7, followed by winter sports (indoor track, wrestling and swimming) starting on December 14. The Virginia High School League schedule for public schools also has football games set for February and spring sports (soccer, tennis, baseball, softball, outdoor track and lacrosse) will start in April.

Harris said that students will self-report on a student medical database, and that coaches immediately get that spreadsheet.

Bishop Ireton High School is offering a hybrid model that allows in-person instruction. Student athletes aren’t competing, but they’re working out on campus with coaches and teammates.

“I think our parents are more happy than anything because they got happy kids that are coming home tired, they have kids who are emotionally and mentally happy to be physically doing things,” Dwayne Bryant, the BI athletic director and boys varsity basketball coach.

St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School has a staggered schedule bringing kids back into classrooms. The school and broke up its athletic season into three five-week sessions and just wrapped up fall sports. They are and are now in their second five week session with winter sports.

“We decided that we would take things slow,” said Jeff Walrich, the SSSAS athletic director for the boys. “We’ve brought kids back onto campus to do some training and to be with their coaches. The kids have been missing is that relationship. So, while they’re training, our focus has been Monday team bonding with their peers and also with their coaches, which is a huge deal.”

Bryant said the latest approval by the NCAA allowing all college athletes to play an extra year presents problems for his students.

“A lot of these seniors, normally at this time would be getting prepared to do their signing celebrations in November, are now scrambling to actually find schools, or even get a chance to be seen,” Bryant said. “We were fortunate enough out there with 10 girls from my lacrosse team that have actually committed to play college next year. And with football being put on hold, a lot of those guys… are working hard trying to put together whatever film they can, but it’s pretty difficult.”

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Realtors Predict Strong Summer — “The first few months of 2020 were very strong in the local real estate market. Contracts slowed significantly in the second half of March and in April, said Dave Hawkins, COO of McEnearney Associates, before the rebound started in May. June should be even stronger for local real estate activity.” [Alexandria Living]

St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School and Goodwin House Embark on Senior Companion Program — “They talk like old friends, but they have never met in person; three months ago, they didn’t even know about each other.” [Washington Post]

Bicycle Shops Report Sales Increase Amid Pandemic — “Alexandrians have been flocking to bicycle shops in recent months, looking to stay fit, avoid public transportation and have fun while social distancing. As a result of the increased demand, bike shops are among the few retailers that have flourished during the pandemic.” [Alex Times]

AlexRenew’s FY 2021 Budget Affected by COVID-19 — “The FY21 budget includes reductions in operational expenses, deferral of capital projects, and a reduction in the previously-approved rate increase of 11 percent to 6.6 percent.” [Zebra]

City Shares Resources to Cope With Racism-Related Trauma — “There are links to mental health counseling, virtual therapy, and meditation.” [Zebra]

Houses of Worship Consider Reopening — “For some churches, including St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Old Town, the risk of giving the Eucharist contributed to the decision not to reopen.” [Alex Times]

Mount Vernon Estate Reopens to the Public — “Your safety and the safety of our staff is paramount as we open our doors again. There will be additional safety measures in place when you visit to limit the spread of the coronavirus.” [Alexandria Living]

New Job: Design Center Manager — “Must have experience as a florist.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Hunger Free Alexandria Has Urgent Need for Volunteers Today — “Urgent need for Thursday, April 23, 4:30-7:00 p.m. Hunger Free Alexandria is working with World Central Kitchen to feed our neighbors in need. Bring your mask and help with bagging pre-packaged food and distributing meals. Location is on Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria.” [Facebook]

State Legislators Reconvene in Richmond — “My “desk” at one of the most unusual legislative sessions in Virginia history. We begin at noon. You can watch us on the livestream. Virginia Transparency even during COVID-19!” [Mark Levine/Twitter]

Virginia Minimum Wage Increase Delayed to May 2021 — “Democrats had used the majorities they gained in last fall’s elections to push through an increase to the state’s $7.25-an-hour minimum wage, scheduling it to rise in stages until it reaches $12 by 2023. The initial increase was to take place in January but now will be delayed until May 1, 2021; the later increases will not be affected.” [Washington Post]

IDA Hosting Stanford Virtual Career Fair Today — “The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a not-for-profit organization that operates three federally-funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) supporting federal decision making: two serving the Department of Defense and one serving the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President.” [Indeed]

Washington Post Features Warwick Village — “Comprising 600 red-brick townhouses, the neighborhood offers families and first-time home buyers the convenience of living close to the amenities of Alexandria and the District in a friendly setting. Different paint colors, landscaping and indoor renovations make each house unique.” [Washington Post]

Alexandria Economic Development Partnership Launches New Website — ” With a clean format and simple navigation, our new website is replacing both of our old ones to make accessing information easier for our community. It also showcases our new brand: Alexandria- the Business of Bold.” [Facebook]

St. Stephens & St. Agnes Alum Now A Nurse in New Orleans — “Dr. Elizabeth Bellino ’94 works in the ER in New Orleans and her husband is an Anesthesiologist. She shared: “In these times, it amazes me how many friends from SSSAS have reached out to support us, whether it is a text, an email, or an offer to send masks. Feeling the support of community and family allows us to keep working during these times. Keep up the good work of keeping us all engaged and feeling like a community once again!” [Facebook]

West End Business Association Hosting Stress Management Webinar at 11 a.m. — “Mara Benner, President/Founder of Four Directions Wellness, LLC, will talk us through the stress we are all under and offer suggestions for reducing and managing that stress so that we can be productive in our lives, with our families and four our businesses.” [WEBA]

Hops N Shine Hosting Virtual Beer Tasting at 8:30 p.m. — “From Väsen Brewing Company we’ll be trying their May Rakau DIPA and The Everything Floats on Pineapple. From our friends at Vanish we’ll be tasting their Ghost Fleet and Wraith.” [Facebook]

Junction Bakery & Bistro is Now Delivering — “Neighbors! The new Junction Delivery van is gassed up & ready to rollllll … We bring it to you: groceries, breads & pastries, family meals, beer & wine — and yes, even our new craft cocktails! Cheaper than Uber Eats!” [Facebook]

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Morning Notes

Lead in Soil Near Oronoco Bay Park — “Research for the Combined Sewer Overflow remediation project uncovered a mysterious cache of lead along the waterfront… It was during exploration at CSO-001, the outfall near Oronoco Bay Park, that RiverRenew came across the lead… RiverRenew is taking extra precautions to remove the impacted soil.” [Alexandria Times]

T.C. Teacher Goes Extra Mile — T.C. Williams 11th grade English teacher Corrina Reamer, who teaches immigrant and international students with limited English proficiency, has raised money for a library of 1,000 books “so her students would learn to love reading.” [Washington Post]

Mag Lists Alexandria Traffic Concerns — “In the past month, we asked Alexandria residents to answer this question: ‘What is your biggest concern about transportation and/or commuting in the Alexandria area, and what do you think should be done to make it better?’ Here are the responses we received.” [Alexandria Living]

Local Robotics Team Advances to State Tourney — “The St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School Upper School robotics team Thunderstone advances to states! They competed January 11-12 at the Salem Qualifier and finished the day as the top-ranked team and captained the winning alliance.” [Zebra]

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Morning Notes

APD Launches Safety Campaign for Officers — “Commuters often hear about the importance of safety on the road, but a new police program in Alexandria, Virginia, seeks to help officers keep themselves out of harm’s way on the road. Through its newly-launched, 12-month ‘Safety First — Every Shift, Every Call’ campaign, Alexandria police will provide officers with monthly safety tips throughout 2020 on topics like safe driving tactics, traffic stops and driving while fatigued.” [WTOP]

Drug Take-Back Day Coming Soon — “Alexandria encourages residents to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications, including those prescribed by veterinarians, during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. A special collection will take place on January 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., although medications may also be taken year-round to one of the permanent drop box locations.” [City of Alexandria]

High School Basketball Team Eyes Playoffs — “Last year, the St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes boys’ varsity basketball team won the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state tournament for the first time since 1990. This year, they’re going for a repeat.” [Alexandria Times]

Al’s Donating in Honor of Anniversary — “Al’s Steak House, 1504 Mount Vernon Avenue, is celebrating 65 years as the ‘King of Cheesesteaks’ by giving back. To celebrate the milestone, Al’s is donating 65 cents for every sub sold during the month of January to Community Lodgings.” [Zebra]

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A relay at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School, a private school in the Seminary Hill neighborhood, is planned this weekend to help raise money for early childhood education in Alexandria.

This is the second year for the relay, which raises money for Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC). The organization has raised $31,120 so far but aims to raise $120,000 to help provide free pre-kindergarten to at-risk children in Alexandria.

The organization says it costs approximately $12,000 per year, per child for a Pre-K education.

According to Relay for Pre-K’s website:

“Our families make just too much to qualify for Head Start, but not nearly enough to afford private preschool. A child’s ability to be ready for school impacts their life’s future. Getting them ready for school is one of the only changes we can make in a child’s life that will change the odds that predict who they will become when they are middle-aged adults. The path that determines who a child becomes links all the way back to preschool. When you invest in CFNC, you are investing in the child, the family, and the City of Alexandria.”

Registration for the event opens at 9 a.m., with the walk starting at 10 a.m. Teams can register in advance online.

Photo via Amy Jackson/Facebook

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