County Board Clears Path for More Classroom Space at Washington-Liber

Published on May 18, 2019

EdCenter1.png The Arlington County Board today approved a use permit request from Arlington Public Schools (APS) to convert the Education Center on the campus of Washington-Liberty (W-L) High School from administrative offices to classroom use. The conversion, which is expected to be complete in time for the 2021-22 school year, will create classroom space for up to 600 more students at W-L.

"Arlington Public Schools has had to get very creative to meet the challenge posed by continued growth in enrollment," Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. "The County has worked closely with APS, providing funding, clearing bureaucratic hurdles and streamlining processes to make sure new schools get built in a timely fashion and old schools — or in this case, a former Education Center — can be renovated, expanded or completely converted to make room for more students."

About the Project

The Education Center formerly served as the headquarters of the Arlington County School Board and APS administrative offices. Those offices relocated to the new Syphax Education Campus off Washington Boulevard in 2018.

APS plans to convert the use of the Education Center to school classrooms, which will allow W-L High School to increase capacity by up to 600 students. The conversion is part of the School Board's FY 2019-2028 Capital Improvement Plan.

This request also includes site modifications, such as new pedestrian connections, as well as alterations to the original façade with consistent materials. In addition, APS is seeking modifications to the Zoning Ordinance for parking requirements at the site, from 751 required spaces down to 508. More information about the Education Center project can be found on the County website.

Community Process

A public review process for the Education Center reuse began in September 2018 and concluded in May 2019. 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 over the course of seven public meetings.

The Parks and Recreation Commission, Environmental and Energy Conservation Commission, Transportation Commission and Planning Commission also reviewed the project.

The County Board voted 5 to 0 to approve the Use Permit. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item No. 47.