Arlington County, Virginia News

For Immediate Release

Friday, October 30, 2009

Contact:Peter Golkin 703-228-3346 (voice) 703-228-4611(TTY)

New Reed School/Westover Library – a Natural Combination

Officials, community celebrate joint facility

  • $22.5 million project preserves open space
  • Built to LEED Silver sustainability standards
  • Joint County government-Arlington Public Schools effort

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington community today celebrated completion of the new Reed School-Westover Branch Library building at a festive dedication ceremony. Officials from County government and Arlington Public Schools joined residents to kick-off two days of grand-opening events.

The $22.5 million project combines a replacement Westover Branch Library and Reed School in a single, environmentally sustainable building on the site of the old Reed School, in the heart of the west Arlington neighborhood. The library wing triples the size of the old Westover branch library, one of the county’s most heavily.

“This wonderful new complex is the result of a highly successful partnership involving the Arlington Public Schools, the Arlington County government, civic leaders, and neighbors. said Barbara Favola, chairman of the Arlington County Board. “Reed-Westover is a LEED certified facility that anchors the neighborhood and invites folks into the building.  It is a model for future joint projects.”

Festivities continue Saturday

The celebration continues on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a Halloween community open house at Reed-Westover. Marking the first day of operation for the new Westover library, the day will feature live music, a WalkArlington neighborhood walkabout, “green” tours of the building, an instrument petting zoo, cooking demonstrations, a children’s costume parade, face-painting, moon bounce, story hour and crafts.

A number of local merchants and restaurants in Westover are offering special discounts Saturday to customers who show their library cards. For more information, please visit Westover Library website.

During the open house, a portion of McKinley Street directly north of Washington Boulevard will be closed to traffic to allow for easy pedestrian crossing between Reed-Westover and the central retail area of Westover.

Combining the Reed School and Westover Branch Library

The Reed-Westover design preserved nearly all of the existing open space at the site by combining the library, which had been housed up the block on North Lexington Street, and school facilities into a single 61,504 square foot building. The new building at the corner of Washington Boulevard and McKinley Road incorporates the facade of the original 1938 Reed School. Groundbreaking took place in May 2008 and programs at Reed began with the new school year in September.

APS Board Chairman Sally Baird hailed the design’s emphasis on sustainability and pedestrian access. She noted that it was achieved through a process that involved extensive community involvement.

"Although APS took the lead in this project, Reed Westover is the result of our strong partnership with the community and our colleagues on the County Board,” Baird said. “The space for the Children's School, Integration Station and the Teen Parenting Program will serve students well for years to come.” The correlation between early exposure to books and reading and later academic success for children is well-documented, Baird said, and “this facility is a wonderful merger of learning, literature, and community. Everyone who was involved in this project should take great pride in the results of their work.”

School portion houses multiple programs

The APS portion of the new facility, which includes an internal courtyard and a two-story multi-purpose room, houses several essential programs for the school system, including:

  • The Children’s School—a pre-school program for APS employees and Arlington residents   
  • Integration Station—an integrated program for children with special needs
  • The Teen Parenting Program--a program providing collaborative and comprehensive services for up to 60 pregnant and parenting high school teenage mothers and their children

Library wing triples size of previous Westover Branch

The new library space provides many amenities, including a sunlit reading area, a large area for children, 26 computers for public use, free WiFi access inside the building and out, and an outdoor community space.

The old Westover library building on North Lexington Street, which opened in 1963, is scheduled to come down by the end of the year. The land will be returned to public green space.

For more information, please visit the Reed School/Westover Project website.

Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.

Last Modified: October 30, 2009
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