City Council approves new school site


By Katherine Hapgood |

During the July 6 Public Hearing, Alexandria City Council unanimously approved the $17.9 million purchase of an office building by Alexandria City Public Schools.

The office building, located adjacent to Ferdinand Day Elementary School in the West End, will eventually be converted into a permanent 600-capacity elementary school site, but in the meantime, it will be used to house ACPS administrative staff. It will also as serve as a swing space for students and teachers during the rebuilding of George Mason and Cora Kelly elementary schools, according to a news release.

The project is pegged by both the city and ACPS as a step toward addressing the school system’s ongoing capacity challenges. However, if enrollment at the new school does not reach ACPS’ projections and a new school is not needed, the site will be used as administrative office space for ACPS staff, according to the release.

Council’s approval augments ACPS’ capital improvement budget, which, after council’s approval on June 9, also now includes an additional $12.5 million to add an aquatics facility to the Minnie Howard campus as part of the high school project. The pool is designed to meet competition standards, which will provide a competition-level facility for the school’s swim team and expand swimming access for ACPS students and the community.

This approval was out of the city’s traditional budget approval cycle, since ACPS’ original overall capital funding request of $551.5 million did not include funding for an aquatics facility, according to the release.