For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Contact: Diana Sun 703-228-3247 (voice) 703-228-4611(TTY)
ARLINGTON, Va. – The County Board has reached consensus on including $104.6 million to rebuild Wakefield High School in the County’s 2010 Bond Referenda, County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said Tuesday.
“There is a consensus among County Board members that Wakefield High School will be on the 2010 Bond Referenda,” Fisette said as he kicked off a public work session on the County’s proposed 2011-2016 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The Board is set to adopt the five-year, $1 billion CIP June 12.
The Board’s decision means that the County will ask voters to approve funding for Wakefield two years earlier than planned for in the County’s 2008 CIP.
“By moving the project forward,” Fisette said, “we will realize significant savings through reduced construction costs.” Construction costs have declined significantly during the recession, but are expected to increase as the economic recovery gains momentum.
“Thanks to a great collaborative effort among citizens, the schools and the County, the new Wakefield High School will be a great civic building that will be both a first-class educational facility and an asset to the broader community,” commented Christopher Zimmerman, vice-chairman of the Arlington County Board.
The Manager has proposed a bond referenda amount of $58.1 million for County capital projects. The County Board will take action on the Manager’s proposal and a bond referendum that will include both county projects and the Wakefield project.
Board members worked to include funding for Wakefield’s reconstruction following months of consultation with the Arlington School Board.
The County and Arlington Public Schools (APS) collaborated closely on designing the new facility. The Board issued a use permit for the project at its April meeting, but did not address funding at that time.
Fisette noted that APS’s proposed 2011-2016 Capital Improvement Program for schools “included very little capital needs other than Wakefield in the next four years,” which would allow the County to “deal with a backlog of capital needs.” The Superintendent has indicated that the debt service on the Wakefield bonds will be covered within revenues currently provided to Schools under the Revenue Sharing Agreement between APS and The County.
Acting County Manager Barbara Donnellan presented her proposed six-year Capital Improvement Program to the County Board in April. She emphasized that it focused on completing existing projects and maintaining infrastructure.
The impact on the County side will increase debt service by $1.5 million in 2012, still within County Board debt policies and rating agency guidance.
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.