Massive overhaul of Arlington County elementary school approved by board

ARLINGTON — The Arlington County Board approved plans at its Saturday meeting to expand and renovate a neighborhood elementary school in the Westover neighborhood.

The school will be a massive overhaul of the Walter Reed Elementary school, which was built in 1938 but closed in 1984. The building got a renovation and addition in 2007, and has since been used as a location for county special education programs and a public library.

The new plan calls for an expansion that will accommodate up to 732 students. The building will be two to four stories in some parts, and will have a larger multipurpose gym.

It will also have a universally accessible civic entrance near the front entrance.

At Saturday’s meeting, some voiced concerns on issues that included walkability and parking. While improving safety for kids who walk and bike is still in the works, parking lots will be expanded.

Parent drop-off and pick-up lanes will also be on-site to prevent traffic backups in the area.

The new school is an addition board members say will help bring the community together, and address the need for more access to education as the community grows.

The school board has approved a budget of up to $55 million for the project.

“Every school is different here, and that adds a lot to the cost. It also means with all the work we do, we get a much better community facility,” said Arlington County Board member, Libby Garvey. “I think we’re in a good place.”

Construction will begin during the fall of next year, and will be completed in time for the 2021-2022 school year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote about this project to Arlington County Board member Erik Gutshall.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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