Arlington County Board Approves Agreement with APS on Wilson School S

Published on July 16, 2016

  • Ground lease approved with Penzance for County-owned Wilson Blvd. property; provides 100 parking spaces for use by APS

  • County to lead 60-day community process to evaluate alternative sites for temporary fire station

  • License agreement allows County to site temporary Fire Station No. 10 on school field if that is selected at end of community process

The Arlington County Board today approved a license agreement with Arlington Public Schools (APS) allowing the County to site a temporary fire station on the Wilson School site at 1601 Wilson Blvd, but said it would only exercise that right if no alternative location can be found in the next 60 days.

The Board's action came in response to concerns expressed about the impact the temporary fire station would have on the educational environment and safety of students.

"We have always said that the redevelopment of this key area of western Rosslyn would be complex and difficult — it requires compromises by everyone concerned," said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. "At the same time, we understand the concerns of parents that putting a temporary fire station on the H-B Woodlawn field will unduly impact their children. We owe it to the whole community to try one last time, within our severe time constraints, to choose the best location for the temporary fire station."

The Board voted 5-0 to approve the license agreement. To read the staff report for this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #52 on the Agenda for the Saturday, July 16 County Board Meeting.

The Board also directed the County Manager to initiate a two-month public process, during which the community will be able to review analysis of three site options for the temporary fire station: Wilson School site, Rhodeside Green Park, and a parcel adjacent to the Holiday Inn in Rosslyn. The Board will make a final decision on the site at its September 2016 Meeting.

APS plans to build a new secondary school at the Wilson School site, to house the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs.  APS plans to begin building the new school in May 2017, and open it in time for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Under the license agreement, the County would site a temporary Fire Station No. 10 on the new school's planned field until the current Fire Station No. 10, located on adjacent County-owned land, can be rebuilt as part of a planned redevelopment by Penzance. The temporary fire station would remain on the school site until at least late 2020.

Parents expressed concern that while the fire station was located on the school site, students would have to be dropped off and picked up on Wilson Blvd., and would have no access to the field. Instead, they would be bused to nearby parks for recreation and sports.

County Board approves ground lease with Penzance

In a separate action, the Board approved a ground lease with developer Penzance for 1559 and 1579 Wilson Blvd., where the County's Fire Station No. 10 and Rosslyn Highlands Park now stand. The agreement allows Penzance to build a mixed-use redevelopment on the County property and adjacent property owned by Penzance, subject to approval of a site plan.

The Penzance project would include building new Fire Station No. 10, new Rosslyn Highlands Park, a new street, and 100 parking spaces for use by Arlington Public Schools.