Opinion Your Views — 02 May 2013
Landmark Mall redevelopment plan ignores education

To the editor:

A couple of weeks ago, I was one of the many who crowded a meeting at Landmark Mall to hear of the desolate facility’s redevelopment plan. While the presentations made sense and showcased a glorious new future for the long-beleaguered shopping center, one particular issue was never addressed by the well-made slides or decent speakers.

Amid the living quarters and new shops, the better roads and public transportation, there was no mention of what would become of the T.C. Williams satellite campus, the relatively new facility located on the mall’s first floor.

When asked about the future of that campus, the presenter from Howard Hughes Corp. had no good answer, admitting that no concrete plans for relocation were in the works. Fast forward a couple of weeks later, and it appears that — even now — Howard Hughes still has not taken into consideration the question of that satellite campus, let alone the overall lack of educational facilities at the proposed new Landmark.

The absence of such considerations for education would be bad enough if our school system had no space issues. However, as has been documented elsewhere, Alexandria City Public Schools is suffering from crowding issues as its student body only increases.

George Mason Elementary School will soon have to add multiple modules to its structure to cope with its growth. For its part, T.C. has four lunch periods so its cafeteria can handle the student traffic.

The grand redevelopment proposal for Landmark is a 20-pound weight being handed to a drowning school district. I urge my fellow Alexandrians and my fellow ACPS alumni to demand Howard Hughes reconsider its plan so as to include space for education.

The company should keep and — if possible — expand the satellite campus so as to aid ACPS in efforts to provide adequate space for students. The least that Howard Hughes can do is not subtract space from a system that desperately needs it.

- Michael Gryboski
Alexandria

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