Arlington County Approves Plan to Expand, Renovate Stratford School B

Published on March 18, 2017

  • Use permit allows for 40,000 square foot addition 

  • Stratford School to become 1,000-seat neighborhood middle school

  • Existing APS Stratford and H-B Woodlawn programs to be relocated

  • Construction to conform to local historic district design guidelines

The Arlington County Board today approved a use permit request from Arlington Public Schools for a 40,000 square foot addition to the existing Stratford School at 4100 Vacation Lane. The Board also approved a related Certificate of Appropriateness that ensures that the new construction and alterations to the existing building, named a local historic district in 2016 for its role in desegregation, keep with preservation design guidelines. StratfordRendering_1

"This plan ensures that Stratford School building, perhaps Arlington's most significant local historic designation so far, will be preserved — and will be adapted to serve the changing needs of our growing student population," County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. "We have to meet our County's current needs while remembering and honoring the important role Stratford played in 1959, when it became the first public school in the Commonwealth to be integrated."

The County Board voted 5 to 0 to approve the Use Permit and expand the Stratford School Historic District, while approving three other items related to the project.. To read the staff reports, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item No. 22, A-E, on the Agenda for the March 18 Regular County Board Meeting.

About the project

Stratford is currently home to two APS programs, the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program and Stratford program. APS plans to relocate these programs to a new school on Wilson Boulevard and convert this location to a neighborhood middle school that would seat up to 1,000 students.

The major addition, which will include a new library, an auxiliary gym, core classrooms, science labs and other teaching spaces, and a new student commons area, is part of the School Board's 2015-2024 Capital Improvements Plan. As part of the redevelopment plan, a private driveway for drop-off and pick-up will extend across the site and a new traffic signal will be installed at Old Dominion Drive. The existing athletic field will be re-graded and rebuilt. At the request of the County Board, APS agreed during the public hearing to examine the feasibility of redesigning the field to meet Ultimate Frisbee requirement. A total of 144 parking spaces will be provided on- and-off-site. APS is committed to obtaining a LEED Silver green building certification for the addition.

More information about the Stratford Middle School Project can be found on the APS website.

Community process

The two-year public review process for the Stratford School addition began in April 2015. The Public Facilities Review Committee and Building Level Planning Committee reviewed the project as it progressed through the concept, schematic design and use permit phases at 58 public meetings. The Parks and Recreation Commission, Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB), Sports Commission, Environmental and Energy Conservation Commission, Urban Forestry Commission, Transportation Commission and Planning Commission also reviewed the project.

Before  the Stratford School became an Arlington Historic District in June 2016, the Board approved an amendment in March 2016 to the Zoning Ordinance to create a new process that gave sole authority to the County Board to approve Certificates of Appropriateness (CoA) for newly designated APS properties, rather than to the  HALRB. The HALRB retains a review and comment role with this new process. The HALRB considered the Stratford CoA at its Dec. 21, 2016, public hearing and recommended the County Board approve the CoA and grant the Use Permit for the project.