Arlington County Board members on Jan. 21 are slated to take the procedural steps needed to permit the first half of a two-stage move of Arlington Community High School.
Board members are expected to approve zoning changes to allow the school to operate in a Ballston office building for several years, until its new home is ready for occupancy.
The school in recent years has been located in a building on the Arlington Career Center campus along South Walter Reed Drive, but that entire site is being prepped for construction of a new Career Center building.
School officials have inked an agreement to lease slightly more than 24,000 square feet of office space on the fourth and fifth floors of an office building at 4420 Fairfax Drive, which will accommodate both day and evening classes. Students would call that facility home from the fall of 2023 until the start of the 2026-27 school year, when the school will relocate to the PenPlace development as part of a community-benefit agreement between the county government and Amazon.
Arlington Community High School – nicknamed The Mavericks – provides coursework to county residents age 16 and older, allowing the students (many immigrants) to work or provide care to family members while accumulating enough credits to earn a high-school diploma.
The current student body comprises roughly 150 taking daytime classes, about half that learning in the evening, a figure that is expected to remain relatively stable in coming years. Under the school system’s proposal, a maximum of 330 daytime students would be allowed on the site.
Parking will be provided in a garage for staff; most students use public transportation or arrive by rideshare, bicycle or on foot, so no parking will be needed for their use.
School officials earlier approved the funding needed to upgrade the interior of the space to meet the needs of a school, which will be built out in coming months.
After the school ultimately departs for its new PenPlace home, the property at 4420 Fairfax Drive is expected to be redeveloped.