A group of architects, planners, and consultants filled Abingdon Elementary School's library this afternoon to hear Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations John Chadwick and Director of Design and Construction Scott Prisco describe the process for submitting a RFP for the Abingdon School addition and renovation at a cost of $28.75 million to add 136 seats, and for construction of a new elementary school on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson Middle School at a cost of $50.25 million to add 725 seats. However, according to Mr. Prisco there is no guarantee that a new elementary school will be constructed on the TJ site in view of intense community opposition. The alternative to an elementary school on the TJ site is additions to two existing elementary schools.
The winning architectural teams will face tight deadlines, Abingdon School's completion date is September 2017 and the completion date for a new elementary school on the TJ site is September 2018. APS expects RFPs to be submitted as soon as possible (material related to RFPs for both projects can be found on APS's Web site). APS contemplates a lengthy community process planning both projects.
As with Williamsburg and Ashlawn, APS contemplates teaming with Arlington Parks and Recreation to replace open space at TJ and Abingdon with playing fields as 'community amenities'. How much, if any, open space remains will depend on residents of adjacent neighborhoods.
Meeting attendees were given a tour of Abingdon School by the school's principal. It became apparent during the tour that complaints by parents of the school's run down state are largely due to lack of good housekeeping, to poor storage, and to lack of interior maintenance.
After touring Abingdon School about half the attendees drove to TJ where they were encouraged to tour the TJ grounds. APS Facilities and Operations Staff want an elementary school constructed on the TJ site and consider those who oppose a new elementary school on the site to be 'neighborhood nuisances'.