County, APS Create Joint Working Group for Career Center

Published on November 28, 2017


  • Evaluating options for additional high school seats

  • Determining how site can accommodate more shared community facilities

  • Neighboring civic associations, commissions, PTA, students, other stakeholders to be included


The Arlington County Board and the Arlington Public Schools Board have created a joint working group that will recommend how the Career Center site may be developed in phases to accommodate more high school capacity and new community amenities.

The Joint Career Center Working Group will evaluate how to optimize the site in the long term, within the context of existing APS high schools, the future of Columbia Pike and the broader Arlington community. The group's study area will be the large block on which the Career Center, the Fenwick Building, and Patrick Henry Elementary School are located. It also will include the blocks between the Career Center and Columbia Pike, to identify opportunities to expand the Career Center site by leasing space in adjacent buildings and/or through land acquisition.

"County government and APS will collaborate with the working group, which will include a broad representation of citizen planning experts, neighbors, parents, students and other stakeholders, to thoroughly analyze options for this important site. We look forward to the Working Group's innovative thoughts and recommendations about the future of both secondary education in Arlington and of community facilities on Columbia Pike." Said Katie Cristol, Arlington County Board Vice Chair, and liaison to the APS Board.

The County Board voted unanimously at its November 28, 2017 Recessed County Board Meeting to approve the charge and appoint members to the working group.

"We at APS are excited!" said APS Board Chair Barbara Kanninen. "This project will provide new opportunities for our students, it will bring vibrancy to the Columbia Pike area, and it will advance smart development in our community." The School Board adopted the working group's charge at its November 14 meeting. Visit the APS website for more information on the Career Center project.

This process to analyze, evaluate and plan for the long-term future of the Career Center represents a new chapter in joint long-range planning for the two Boards. The Working Group will enable a longer-term look at how the site can grow and develop over time, and not just in a single building project, to optimize the use of land and meet community and schools needs in a land-constrained County. The instructional focus for the Career Center will be addressed by APS in a separate process, as will planning the building for the 700-800 seats.

The working group will develop a plan that defines how APS can open 800 new seats at the Career Center by 2022, within funding already approved by the School Board, while providing options for optimizing future development of public facilities within the study area through a phased development plan. The group's work will begin in December 2017, and submit a progress report or meet with the boards in a work session in February 2018. The working group's final report will be submitted to both boards in August 2018.

To read the full charge for the working group, including key parameters and goals, scroll down to the Board Reports section of the agenda for the Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 County Board Recessed Meeting.

Members appointed by the County Board to the Career Center Working Group:

  • Kathleen McSweeney and Designate as Chair

  • Maura McMahon — Alcova Heights Civic Association

  • Kristi Sawert — Arlington Heights Civic Association

  • Tova Solo — Black Heritage Museum of Arlington Virginia

  • Sarah McKinley — Columbia Heights Civic Association

  • Betty Siegel — Columbia Pike Form Based Code Advisory Group

  • John Snyder — Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization

  • Jason Kaufman — Douglas Park Civic Association

  • Christine Ng — Environment and Energy Conservation Commission

  • Dr. Tehaye Teferra — Ethiopian Community Development Council

  • Greg Greeley — Joint Facilities Advisory Commission

  • Cindy Krech — Park and Recreation Commission

  • Maria Durgan — Penrose Civic Association

  • Lander Allin — Pike Presidents' Group

  • Elizabeth Gearin — Planning Commission

  •  Jim Lantelme — Public Facilities Review Committee