ACC BLPC Concept Design Frequently Asked Questions

Site Plan | ACC Building | Educational Specifications | Transportation | Parking | Construction and Staging | Other Topics

Site Plan:

Q: We are concerned about placing an elementary school adjacent to a high school, and desire more physical separation between the buildings.  (added 4/21/22)

A: Staff have received comments on both sides of this question of co-location of schools from members of the ACC project:

    • some have expressed a preference for greater separation of buildings for students in different school levels,
    • some have pointed to an example where outside of Arlington an elementary school, high school and community center are all co-located in adjoining buildings or sharing a driveway.
    • one person proposed a single large building for MPSA and Career Center in order to reclaim green space.

 Arlington already has successful examples of adjacencies among various school levels:

    • Discovery Elementary and Williamsburg Middle School
    • Carlin Spring Elementary and Kenmore Middle School
    • Claremont Elementary and Wakefield High School
    • Oakridge Elementary and Gunston Middle School

Q: Won’t there be too many students on the site if MPSA, the current Career Center building and the new building all have students?  (added 4/21/22)

A: The School Board has capped the number of students at the site at 2,570.  The Board will decide on which set of education specifications to use for the new building (for 1,795 or 1,345 seats). Plans for all three buildings on the site (the size of the new Career Center, the legacy Career Center building and MPSA building) will be provided for in the FY 2025-34 CIP to remain within the total number of students specified by the School Board.

Q: Why are the current plans for the Career Center development missing so many amenities discussed by the Career Center Working Group? (added 4/21/22)

A: The Career Center Working Group considered amenities such as a pool facility, underground parking with a field on top and a theater for community use. The estimated costs of construction far exceeded available budget for the project. The current options are defined by student program requirements, for an option school as detailed in the educational specifications.

Q: Will the field be artificial turf or natural grass?  (added 3/14/22) 

A: The field is planned to be artificial turf.

Q: Will MPSA have playgrounds separating age groups?  Will staff have input on new playground construction?  (added 3/14/22) 

A:  Yes, the design team will work with MPSA to design play areas for separate age groups, turf area, and maintenance for the Koi Pond.

Q: Will you plan for “unintentional” pedestrian paths when looking at pedestrian access on the site?  (added 3/14/22) 

A: Yes, pedestrian access will be planned as part of the site development.

Q: Does the plaza reduce green space?  If so, by how much?  What is the width of the plaza? (added 3/14/22) 

A: We would anticipate that green space would be increased from current conditions including turf fields and play spaces.  It is too early in the process to discuss sizes as this is just a conceptual design.  At this point the team is anticipating using permeable pavers as part of the plaza to replace asphalt and concrete.

Q: If the plaza is used by heavy vehicles, how will it be maintained and how much will it cost?  Please provide more description of the type of plaza construction.  (added 3/14/22) 

A: Currently the team is planning heavy duty pavers in the drive lanes which can be comparable in cost to highway standard cross sections.  This is included in the cost estimate.

Q: What is the grade of the Career Center site? (added 2/14/22)

A: The site itself has a gentle slope with the greatest differential at 14 feet from North to South

Q: How much of the site will be in the shadow of the new Career Center building? (added 2/14/22)

A: A shadow study is planned and will be shared when available.

Q: Half the building is under S-3A zoning while the other half is under the Columbia Pike Form Based Code.  How does this affect massing? (added 2/14/22)

A: Since the entire Arlington Career Center campus is zoned S-3A, the Form Based Code does not apply.  Section 102 of the zoning code clearly identifies the zoning designations that are eligible.

Q: What is the Complete Streets Project on Walter Reed and how is it integrated into the project? (added 2/14/22)

A: The timing for both projects allow for better integration and the Career Center project will use the street cross section established part of the Complete Streets project to help set the location of the face of building along Walter Reed. A generous sidewalk and planting area will be provided along the school to integrate with the multimodal improvements along Walter Reed.  Additional details and information will be provided as the projects develop and the design teams coordinate their efforts.

    • Signalization of 9th and Walter Reed will make the intersection safer and could improve turning safety for school Busses
    • Improved pedestrian crossings
    • Protected bike lane will provide improved bicycle access for all age groups and ability levels
    • Improved transit facilities

Q: What will the field space be appropriate for? (added 2/14/22)

A: The Green space will be used for physical education classes. As an option school, the facility is not required to have a regulation size field to host sporting events. There are currently no plans for fixed bleachers or for lights on the field at this stage of the planning.

Q: What are the field sharing plans for the Arlington Career Center and MPSA? (added 2/14/22)

A: The proposed field will be used primarily to support the instructional needs of the new ACC building.  Field sharing between the new ACC and MPSA could be possible if the logistics could be adequately resolved.  MPSA will have its own dedicated play areas immediately adjacent to the building.  These play areas will be redeveloped prior to the start of construction of the new ACC building and could include a synthetic turf area.

Q: Is it possible to have a covered walkway from the parking garage to the new Career Center building? (added 2/14/22)

A: APS will prioritize a safe walking path to each of the buildings on the site.  There is no plan for a covered walkway at this time.

Q: Will the site include natural grass, if so, where?  (added 2/16/22)

A: It is too early to know where, but we would anticipate some grass, planting beds, and infiltration beds on the site.  The field is proposed to be synthetic turf in initial estimates.

ACC Building:

Q: Does APS plan to make the new building net zero energy compliant? (added 4/21/22)

A: All County buildings are to be LEED Silver minimum. APS has committed to building with the goal of a low EUI (Energy Use Intensity) but are not currently able to commit to developing the Career Center as a net zero facility.

Q: Will all levels of building have terraces and green roofs as illustrated at the main entrance? Who maintains them? Will there be any terraces on the West (or ‘interior’) side of the building?  (added 3/14/22) 

A: It is too early to know. The images in BLPC/PFRC meeting #2 were conceptual in nature, illustrating possible outdoor terrace locations. There could be a standard roof, terrace with planters, terrace without planters, Solar ready, other uses, or combination of all of the above. Any outdoor terraces would be further developed as the design advances and recommended as cost allows. Custodians manage the grounds of a property.

Q: Have you considered (or would you consider) placing the main entrance ‘inside’ the campus, like the current Career Center building, and at the same end of the building.  It appears there is a possibility for green space or a plaza there.  What else would that exterior space be destined for?  (added 3/14/22) 

A: While we are just in the concept phase, we anticipate green spaces and plazas surrounding the new building that can be used by the public and students, in addition to connecting and celebrating the building’s programs with the community.  Our buildings have multiple easily identifiable entrances.  When students arrive, most entries are open.  During the school day, generally all but one door will be locked in security reasons to require all visitors to enter through the office.  Our daytime visitor entrance is not always the same as the formal entrance to the building used for public events during non-school hours.

Q: How long is the building? How does this compare to the other high schools?  Would transit time really be longer?  Can classes be co-located to minimize end-to-end transit times?  (added 3/14/22) 

A: The building is 590 feet long, a smaller footprint than the existing building.  Students will have the opportunity to move vertically and horizontally.  We are working to provide adjacencies that make sense to reduce travel and make students feel connected as part of the school community.

Q: What will it cost to add an additional floor?  (added 3/14/22) 

A: That is a complicated question.  We would have to define the area where it would be added. Another story could require a larger foundation and more concrete and steel on the floors below to support it.  In this market we would need a consultant to provide costs based on the current market and escalation to those costs depending on when it would be built. It is currently a volatile construction market.

Q: How tall will the new Career Center building be at 7th Street and Walter Reed Drive? (added 2/14/22)

A: The preliminary site plan reviewed at the January 19 meeting illustrated that portion of the building as two stories.  The images of building massing are available on the in the presentation found on the Engage page for the BLPC:

Q: What does “main entrance” mean? (added 2/14/22)

A: The “main entrance” refers to the buildings primary entrance, where all visitors are required to enter.  For comparison, the “main entrance” to the existing ACC is Door #1 facing the parking lot.  Like the Heights building and other APS high schools, there will be entrances all around the building. All entrances are planned with universal design and accessibility.

Q: Can you show the location of programs within the new building? What will be on the street front? (added 2/14/22)

A: The exact location of individual programs will evolve as the design progresses and will be led primarily by the instructional needs of the new facility. Some elements require ground floor access (e.g., auto tech, childcare, animal grooming) and other programs would prefer ground floor access because of their need to be accessible to the community (e.g., barbering, cosmetology, and culinary arts). As many programs as possible will be placed on the ground floor to provide direct access to those programs.

Q: How will different groups of programs be clustered for “flow” in the building? (added 2/14/22)

A: This information will come later and will be driven by instructional preferences and requirements. It will also be determined by the placement of specific classrooms.  The design team will use feedback from ACC staff for program adjacencies to the greatest extent possible within the constraints of the building area.

Q: Will there be outdoor space for dining? (added 2/14/22)

A: Outdoor dining space is not a specific instructional requirement identified in the approved educational specifications, however, it is a preference that will be explored as the building design progresses.

Q: Will there be rooftop common areas? Will they be accessible to the public? (added 2/14/22)

A: Rooftop and other open spaces such as a performance space will likely be available to the public only through organized programs outside of daytime school hours as with other school facilities since access will be through the school.

Q: Will there be a playground for the childcare program? (added 2/14/22)

A: Outdoor play space is required for licensing of childcare facilities. Its location has yet to be determined and could be at grade or on a roof terrace. Details will be worked out as the design progresses.

Q: Why is the new ACC being designed to accommodate Middle School Students? (added 2/16/22)

A: All new APS buildings are designed in alignment with APS Design Principles, which includes short-term agility and long-term adaptability. Spaces are designed to be agile in their day-to-day use, while being adaptable to any future changes that might be needed due to enrollment, program and/or instructional needs.

Q: Will the new ACC building have an auditorium? (added 2/16/22)

A: The new ACC building will not have an auditorium; however, the base and alternative educational specifications do include multiple large spaces, including a full-size gymnasium (9,500 sq ft), black box theater (2,500 sq ft), and cafeteria (5,000 sq. ft). The black box theater supports the instructional needs of the arts and broader instructional programs at ACC. In addition, the black box theater, full-size gymnasium, and cafeteria can also accommodate groups of students, parents, and community members for assemblies, parent information nights, and other school and community related events.

Q: How was it decided that the new ACC building would not have an auditorium? (added 2/16/22)

A: The base and alternative educational specifications were developed by a cross-departmental team of APS staff representing the Arlington Career Center administration, central office staff from the Office of School Support, Office of Academics, and Design and Construction. Instructional leaders from ACC and the Office of School Support and Office of Academics provided guidance in overall requirements for learning and support spaces and quantities. Input from all of these groups and staff from our other high school option programs, was reviewed and considered by the School Board and the proposed base and alternative educational specifications were incorporated in the School Board’s FY 2023-32 CIP Direction that was approved on October 28, 2021

The new Arlington Career Center will have a substantial footprint allocated for state-of-the-art career and technical education labs and workshops that will be unique to this building and includes exhibition space to support the school’s programs including a restaurant setting for the culinary arts program and retail-like settings for cosmetology and barbering programs. The black box theater was determined to meet the instructional needs of the arts program.

Educational Specifications:

Q: When will revised Education Specifications be published? (added 4/21/22)

A: Revised Educational Specifications were posted after they were formally approved by the School Board. Following the work conducted during the Concept Design phase, staff propose revisions to the Educational Specifications that result in an increase in the total planned square foot (SF) of building area due to the following:

    • Approximately half of the increase is attributed to a calculation error discovered in the Black Box portion of the original Ed. Specs.
    • The remaining increase follows extensive interviews with ACC staff, and includes areas needed to support planned programs and capacities.

 Total planned building areas for the original and proposed Ed. Specs. are summarized as seen below. There are no proposed changes to the maximum capacity or instructional programs.

Original Proposed Change
Base Ed Specs 258,230 SF 269,122 SF +10,892 SF (4.2%)
Alternative Ed Specs 224,280 SF 234,892 SF +10,612 SF (4.7%)

Q: Is the auto tech program included in the plans for the new Career Center building?  (added 3/15/22)

A: Yes, the auto tech program will move to the new Career Center building.

Q: Are Adult Education needs reflected in the Educational Specifications? (added 3/15/22)

A: Career, Technical, & Adult Ed staff were involved in creating the educational specifications to ensure all programs at the Career Center were represented in the Education Specifications.

Q: What formula(s) or matrix are being used to calculate the Ed Specs? Please publish them. Are there different formulas for class/room type (ie. English classroom vs. Science lab vs. CTE lab/class, etc)?   (added 3/15/22)

A:  Labs/shops are right-sized and customized for the program and the number of students which will be in the space. Space was confirmed with faculty and staff prior to the design work starting on the conceptual design. You can find the complete base and alternative education specifications on the project’s Engage page or here:  Base Educational Specifications  Alternative Educational Specifications

Q: How do CTE programs get input into the educational specifications and the determination for such matters as storage needs, space needs, curriculum needs, etc? (added 3/15/22)

A: Prior to starting on the Conceptual design, the team met with staff for all programs to verify and adjust spaces to be appropriate for the program that will use the spaces including storage, support, and space needs. These verification/revisions are accommodated within the original budget and will be presented to the School Board with the Conceptual Design.

Q: Why is the CTE space so much smaller in the new building when the School Board said that CTE space was to be “replace, enhanced or expanded”?  What explains the reduction in “space required” for 14 of the 19 CTE programs included in BPLC Ed Specs from 2019 and today? (added 3/15/22)

 A: Much more space is dedicated to CTE programs than currently exists. To accommodate the increased number of classes, more labs/shops which are right sized for the program and the number of students which will be in the space are being offered. Space was confirmed with faculty and staff prior to the design work starting on the conceptual design.

Q: The educational specifications only cite inside space. Animal Science, Early Childhood and Auto Tech, as well as other CTE courses, require outside space. Animal Science has asked to know the outside “green space” in order to see if, in fact, there is space for farm animals, dog-exercise area, etc. Can you provide an estimate of the outside space and location(s) of the proposed boundaries on the map(s) so estimates can be formulated?  (added 3/15/22)

A: Outside space is required by and provided for Auto Tech outside of the shop to showcase the program. Additional parking is provided elsewhere on the site.  Early Childhood is an accredited program requiring outdoor play space which will be provided.  Animal Sciences will be provided with outdoor space for dog walking and relief.  It will be accounted for in the site work in the cost estimate, but it is too early to define the spaces.

Q: How much space will Animal Science have indoors and outdoors?  Where will it be located?  (added 3/15/22)

A: Animal Science is currently on the first floor and will have indoor space as per the educational specifications and exterior space will be provided for dog walking and relief area.

Q: If animals could be made more visible (outside greenspace), and if the program brainstormed ways for the community to interact with animals (e.g., educational events, girl/boy scout, church, etc) to positively impact the community, could space be found and built into the planning?  (added 3/15/22)

A: The conceptual design is working to make all programs visible to the community, and with the ability to for programs to interact with the community.  Examples: Hair cutting and salon services in Cosmetology/Barbering; Auto services in Auto Tech; and grooming services in animal sciences.

Q: The Montessori community remains concerned over a loss of green-field space, even in the short-term during construction. This is a separate issue from the proposed playground (which is required by law anyway). On its own, the field space that currently exists is critical to MPSA operations because the Patrick Henry building is not designed to accommodate Montessori pedagogy of extra-long student work blocks. As such, some students often get sent outside to the field to do work while others spread out and utilize indoor space during the three-hour work period. This was done at the old Drew site too and is not a new situation – but APS has never formally accommodated this as part of Montessori facility use. (added 3/15/22)

A: The courtyard where students currently go to work, eat lunch and which holds outdoor learning gardens will not be impacted by the new playground proposal. Playground renovations will include both the primary children’s outdoor play space currently adjacent to Highland Street and replace the current Basketball court and equipment that will be taken for the new Career Center building.  These changes will be completed as the first step during construction.


Q: When will plans for traffic flow and quantity of onsite parking be published?  (added 4/21/22)

A: Parking onsite and around the site will be addressed in the schematic design phase set to begin this Summer (2022).  Bus routing and on-street parking/signage will be decided closer to the opening of the facility in collaboration with the County and in keeping with the Complete Streets plans.

Q: Can you describe anticipated incoming/outgoing bus routing? (added 4/21/22) 

A: Routing has not been determined and will not be until just before school as it depends on where the students will be coming from.

    • We do anticipate that many more buses will turn south on Highland (than current practice) and exit toward 9th Street due to the new left turn lane that is to be installed.  The signalized left turn lanes may also entice buses to approach Highland Street from 9th Street as well.
    • Buses delivering students to MPSA and the New ACC would arrive from Walter Reed and depart on Highland, so the doors face the buildings students will enter. For pick-up, buses would arrive from Highland Street and are envisioned to depart on Walter Reed making a right turn, though some buses could exit on to Highland Street.
    • Buses that may drop students at the existing ACC building would follow the current pattern of entering the site from Highland and exiting on Walter Reed with a right turn only. (Some buses may follow the loop around in front of MPSA and exit onto Highland.)
    • Internal transit routes on campus would be limited to buses, Auto Shop/Body vehicles and deliveries. Deliveries and moving Auto Shop/Body vehicles would be restricted to non-pick-up/drop-off times. Personal vehicles are not permitted to be on site and would be limited to the structured parking and perimeter of the site.

Q: I am concerned about safety risks due to co-mingling bus/vehicle/pedestrian/bike traffic through the interior of the site. (added 4/21/22)  

A: Traffic on the site will be further defined in the schematic plans for the site and in preparation for the opening of the new building in 2026. The new site will be planned to be safer than the current co-mingling of buses, pedestrians, bicycles, delivery and personal vehicles beyond those in the Auto Body and Auto Shop programs. Buses will traverse the site during pick-up and drop-off. And the majority of everyday will be exclusively for pedestrian use and necessary vehicle delivery. The site will not be accessible for personal vehicle use. 

Q: Can APS have exclusive use of 9th Street South between Highland and South Walter Reed Drive?  (added 4/21/22)

A: APS approached the County about this possibility as promised. The County is not supporting bus use because as part of the Complete Streets program, 9th Street and Walter Reed will be improved with a traffic light and left turn lanes making it a main transportation route.

    • With bus use, the traffic would have to come to a complete halt in both directions while buses loaded and unloaded students.
    • Ninth Street is also a bicycle route to keep bicycles off Columbia Pike.
    • Ninth Street is further away from both the new Career Center and MPSA entrances. This is a particular concern for elementary and pre-school students.
    • However, the metered spaces on 9th Street could be signed to be used for parent pick-up and drop-off in the morning and afternoon as was done on Washington Blvd at W-L

Q: Where will morning and after school parent pick up and drop off occur for MPSA? (added 3/15/22) 

A: Parent pick up and drop off will occur curbside on Highland Street for MPSA as it does now.

Q: Is it feasible to add a parent drop off lane to the bus loop? South Highland is very congested during certain times of the day with parents lined up from 9th to 7th Streets. (added 3/15/22) 

A: Parallel drop off lanes would create a safety hazard for pedestrians. Keeping cars and buses separate is a safety priority. MPSA buses will turn in from Walter Reed between the new Career Center building and the Library and traverse the proposed plaza. They will then turn right onto loop to deliver children to MPSA.  APS and the County will try to find other ways to improve traffic adjacent to MPSA. MPSA cars will pick up and drop off from 7th Street or from South Highland as they do today.

Q:  Will the area between the old and new Career Center buildings be open for emergency vehicles or will there be bollards inhibiting access?  (added 3/15/22) 

A: It is anticipated at this time that emergency vehicles will have access.

Q: Have you considered how to evacuate all the buildings simultaneously?  (added 3/15/22) 

A: Simultaneous emergency evacuation is a detail that has yet to be determined as we are only in the conceptual design phase. We will be working with County emergency services as is done on all APS projects

Q: Does Option 2 reduce traffic on Highland (with buses either entering from or exiting to Walter Reed)?  (added 3/15/22) 

A: Yes, it would. With the Walter Reed as entrance/exit, bus traffic on Highland could be up to 50% less depending on the bus routing.

Q: Are buses coming to the site at 7:30am? How will it work with buses and parent pickup happening at the same time?  (added 3/15/22) 

A: Pick up and drop off times will be similar to now, with improved curbs for private vehicle access. Precise times are subject to change in the wake of the bell-time study this Spring.

Q: How will the plaza be opened and closed to traffic?  What will happen with buses arriving and departing during the school day? Will refuse, delivery or other large vehicles use the plaza exit? Please confirm that it would be closed to traffic except during intake and dismissal.  (added 3/15/22) 

A: It is intended that the plaza is closed to all traffic except buses, deliveries, and the auto tech program. This should be a safer situation than the current mix of automobiles, trucks, and buses with pedestrians. The details will be worked out through the design phase.

Q: Will the loading dock of the new Career Center building block traffic from passing? Will service vehicles using the loading dock conflict with the auto tech program?  (added 3/15/22) 

A: The loading dock will be designed not to block other traffic.

Q: Could you put the service loading dock on Walter Reed to maintain flexibility on the site as it evolves.  With the dock on the interior, you will always have traffic flow to it. (added 3/15/22)   

A: A service loading dock on South Walter Reed Drive would conflict with the County’s complete streets plans. This building will not receive heavy amounts of deliveries, so they will just require scheduling attention.

Q: What other vehicles would also have permitted use of the bus-access? Service vehicles? Auto-shop vehicles? Other?  (added 3/15/22) 

A: The plaza is intended to be closed to all traffic except buses, deliveries, and the auto tech program.

Q: If the main entrance is on Walter Reed, why won’t buses line up along Walter Reed? Would this ease traffic concerns?  (added 3/15/22) 

A:  School Bus loading on Walter Reed will conflict with the planned “Complete Streets Program”.

Q: A traffic light or crossing guard might mitigate traffic concerns. Can we have a ‘test’ crossing guard now?  (added 3/15/22) 

A: As part of the “Complete Streets Program”, the crosswalk at 8th Street across Walter Reed is planned to be improved as is the signalization of the intersection at 9th and Walter Reed.

Q: Will there be space for pick-up and drop-off (PUDO) on Walter Reed Drive in front of the building? Can APS take back part of Walter Reed either for PUDO or for additional setback from the street? (added 2/14/22)

A: APS will work with the Arlington County Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development to plan for curb uses along Walter Reed Drive.

Q: Could APS please show the bus and car routes and show the separation by timing? (added 2/14/22)

A: This information will be explained in detail in the Multimodal Transportation Analysis (MMTA) document.  APS is developing a summary to provide as part of an upcoming BLPC/PFRC meeting.

Q: Is the bus loop wide enough for MPSA and ACC buses to pass each other? (added 2/14/22)

A: The bus loop will be designed to properly accommodate arrival and dismissal of the entire campus as well as the busses that service ACC throughout the school day.  Depending on the ultimate configuration of bus operations, this will likely include sufficient area for two-way traffic and/or passing.

Q: Can the buses go through the site to South Walter Reed Drive instead of departing on South Highland Street? (added 2/14/22)

A: APS is exploring this possibility as part of the design process. It is an option at this point and will be a subject of discussion at an upcoming BLPC/PFRC meeting.

Q: Please explain clearly what is happening to the Arlington Community High School. When will the new space at PenPlace be ready? When will the current building on South Walter Reed Drive be torn down? in 2023? (added 2/14/22)

A: Amazon will support building of a new permanent home for Arlington Community High School as part of its PenPlace development in Pentagon City. The school will be built as part of the mixed=use development located at the corner of South Eads Street and 12th Street South and will be completed in time for the 2026-27 school year. APS is working with Arlington County to identify a temporary home until the move to PenPlace and during construction at the Arlington Career Center. See more information at:


Q: Where is the parking garage entrance?  (added 4/21/22)

A: The entrance will be placed at the end of the building in mid-block.

We referred the following questions to our traffic consultants. Please use the link below to see responses which include illustrative diagrams to understand and visualize the analysis. (added 3/15/22)

    1. How many students are actually driving to the Career Center?
    2. How much unrestricted parking around the site is there?
    3. Does or will this include metered parking?
    4. Where are the 80 street parking spaces referenced in the presentation?
    5. Will on-street parking be available for students driving from their home schools?

Link for parking analysis and diagrams: ACC Community Questions for Traffic Consultants

Q: Please show where parents park when picking up an MPSA student? How will they pick up or drop off during school hours?  (added 3/15/22)

A: Current planning is for pick-up and drop off to be on a public street from private vehicles and will take into account street parking. This will be in effect at all times. The details are still being determined in concert with the County, with final resolution to be determined with the approval of the use permit.

Q: How will the amount of student parking at this site compare to the other Arlington high schools? (This should be considered when determining what will be offered at the Career Center.)  Should the Career Center students’ parking needs be weighed differently from those at neighborhood schools?  Many students are non-traditional and may bring children. (added 3/15/22)

A: Some high schools provided limited student parking: Yorktown & W-L.  Others provide none: Wakefield, The Heights, ACHS.  Currently very limited student parking is being discussed, but this will be definitively determined with the County Board approval of the Use Permit.

Q: Will there be one or two exits from the parking garage as suggested in BLPC meetings but not shown in renderings?  (added 3/15/22)

A: The number of exits has yet to be determined as does the configuration of the garage, exact location and capacity.  This will be further developed with schematic design and will be definitively determined with the County Board approval of the Use Permit.

Q: Will there be accessible parking near the entrance of MPSA, the Career Center and Library? (added 2/14/22)

A: In order to provide convenient and accessible parking near all building entrances, APS will collaborate with the Arlington County staff to plan for designated accessible parking spaces provided at the curb on South Highland and South Walter Reed Drive.

Q: Can there be street parking designated for students? (added 2/14/22)

A: Arlington County does not typically permit assignment of a public resource like on-street parking to an exclusive group such as APS students.  Exceptions exist, such as the Residential Permit Parking program.  Student parking using available and unrestricted on-street parking is a strategy APS is considering for this project.  APS is collaborating with Arlington County on appropriate curbside management practices that could be used to support that strategy.

Q: Will there be covered bicycle parking close to the building? (added 2/14/22)

A: Bicycle parking will be provided at various locations throughout the campus at logical locations that promote and support access via that mode of transportation, including locations such as adjacent to building entrances.  APS will consider covered parking using elements such as building overhangs.  Due to cost and maintenance concerns, APS does not construct standalone bicycle parking canopies.

Q: Why is APS building a parking structure instead of purchasing the one on S. 9th Street?  (added 2/14/22)

A: The School Board has directed the Department of Facilities and Operations to provide on-site parking because the ECDC parking garage is not available to be purchased.

Q: What is the projected need for the parking garage?  Does that include parking for students? Teachers? Library staff and patrons?  (added 2/14/22)

A: The described parking garage is planned to have 400 spaces based on concept design from earlier planning efforts. This number will be revisited as part of the ongoing transportation analysis. The garage will include parking for the Arlington Career Center, the Montessori Public School of Arlington, and the Columbia Pike Library. The following is additional information about the parking garage:

    • School staff
    • Library staff
    • School/Library visitors
    • There will be designated spaces that are ADA compliant.
    • The auto tech program may be able to use some spaces.
    • There may be some short-term Pick-up and Drop-off parking spaces.
    • Student parking in the garage would be limited to demand that cannot be provided in other ways during the day. Students would be permitted to use the garage for weekend and evening programs

Q: How will individuals with disabilities navigate from the parking structure to school buildings? (added 2/16/22)

A: APS Design Principles include universal design to ensure that all spaces and structures are designed and composed so they are accessible, understood, and useful for all, including individuals with disabilities. The parking structure will include dedicated accessible parking on the ground level, in addition to other accessibility features throughout the structure. Travel routes from the parking structure to and from the buildings and fields will include accessibility features that ensure safe access.

Q: Can the garage have multiple entrances? (added 2/14/22)

A: APS is exploring this possibility.

Q: Can the garage be built so that it can be used by the community for events? (added 2/14/22)

A: This may be possible and will partially depend on whether the garage has flat floors or ramps.

Q: Can the garage have other uses like storage or classrooms? (added 2/14/22)

A: Such uses are not likely.

Q: How tall is a 400-space parking garage? (added 2/14/22)

A: The design, including proposed height, for the parking garage will be developed further with an updated actual number of spaces as the design progresses.

Q: Can the garage be built partially underground? (added 2/14/22)

A: APS is exploring this possibility; however, it could ultimately be cost prohibitive. Depending on the exact placement of the parking structure and location of entrance(s)/exit(s) a portion of the ground floor of the structure could be located underground.

Q: Can APS show a cost comparison between above ground parking, underground parking, and potential hybrid options? (added 2/14/22)

A: Underground parking was considered at this site during past studies and was proven to be cost prohibitive.  Order of magnitude costs between various types of parking can be found on slide 23 of this presentation.  Additional details about the parking garage will be provided concurrently with advancement of the current transportation study. The study contemplates an update to the number of spaces needed based on the School Board project requirements.  Size, placement (above, underground, or hybrid) and structure type (flat floor or ramp) are some of the variables that will need to be considered in the cost during the concept design phase.

Q: Can the parking deck be built such that additional levels could be added to it in the future?  (added 2/14/22)

A: That is a possibility as was done by the County at the Trades Center.

Construction and Staging: 

Q: How will construction be staged?  (added 2/14/22)

A:  Construction phasing and staging plans will be developed further along in the design process once the proposed final site plan configuration becomes more definitive.

Q: Will parking be available during construction? (added 2/14/22)

A: Parking will be provided for staff through the phases of the project utilizing on and off-site parking.

Q: Can construction be done only in the summer? (added 2/14/22)

A: Construction on the new building will occur year-round. Since the students will be able to be instructed in the current Arlington Career Center building, this allows the new building to be constructed more quickly because no sections of the building will be inhibited by students or staff during its construction. Year-round construction is necessary to meet the target opening of the new building.


Other Topics 

Q: What is the demand for the various CC programs?  (added 4/21/22)  

A: We don’t currently have a way to assess demand and are exploring ways to report this. We do know that the CTE programs do not have the capacity needed for students enrolled at other schools.

Q: Will APS continue to bus in students from home schools or are these part-time CTE seats going to be reduced in number?  (added 3/14/22)

A: APS Transportation will continue to be provided from home schools to ACC for students who participate in CTE classes. The base and alternative Ed. Specs plan for 300 CTE seats per block, which equates to 900 total seats for part-time CTE students (300 CTE seats offered in 3 period blocks per day). This is nearly double the number of current seats (500) for part-time CTE students as provided for in the FY 22-24 CIP.  see slide 3

Q: Please explain clearly what is happening to the Arlington Community High School. When will the new space at PenPlace be ready? When will the current building on South Walter Reed Drive be torn down? in 2023? (added 2/16/22)

A: Amazon will support building of a new permanent home for Arlington Community High School as part of its PenPlace development in Pentagon City. The school will be built as part of the mixed-use development located at the corner of South Eads Street and 12th Street South and will be completed in time for the 2026-27 school year. The current ACHS building will be torn down in 2023. APS is working with Arlington County to identify a temporary home until the move to PenPlace and during construction at the Arlington Career Center.

See more information at: 

Q: Is the total project budget adjusted for inflation? (added 2/16/22)

A: Appropriate escalation and contingency funding for additional costs that may arise during construction is included in all APS cost estimates and approved budgets. Cost will be monitored through estimates throughout the project development that will consider inflation and escalation to adjust the scope to maintain the budget.

Q: When will APS plan how to use the current Career Center once the new building is open?  (added 4/21/22)

A: The FY2023-32 CIP will provide for building the new Career Center building and parking garage.  It also allows time for the evaluation of facilities across the system, including the MPSA and current Career Center buildings. The building evaluations will inform a prioritized renovation list and inform any decisions to use, repurpose or remove these buildings in the FY 2025-34 CIP and allow time to plan accordingly.

Q: What are the long-term plans for the current Arlington Career Center and Montessori Public School of Arlington buildings and their uses on the site? (added 2/14/22)

A: The School Board’s CIP Direction for the Superintendent’s Proposed

    • FY 2023-32 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) establishes a maximum of 2,570 students on the Career Center campus.
    • FY 2025-34 CIP will include specific recommendations for the MPSA and ACC buildings

Q: If/when the MPSA building is torn down, how does the planned bus loop and loading dock location constrain creation of field/sport space? (added 2/14/22)

A: If the MPSA building is removed from the site, the portion of the bus loop that runs east/west adjacent to the building will no longer be necessary for bus operations and could be removed.  However, any modifications to the loop as initially designed must consider appropriate bus operations for the facilities that remain as well as maintaining service access to the new ACC.

Q: Are there plans for geothermal or solar energy use at the site? (added 2/14/22)

A: Due to site and phasing constraints, there are no plans for geothermal energy.  Depending on the design of the roof area, installing solar panels is a possibility.  The project will use multiple strategies to reduce energy consumption and otherwise create a “sustainable” building.  Additionally, the project is required to be designed to be LEED Silver at a minimum.

Q: What is the long-term plan for the County library on the site? (added 2/14/22)

A: The lease agreement with Arlington County Government provides for the use of the building by the library until it decides to move it.

Q: Are programs currently at the Arlington Career Center (ACC) being eliminated? (added 2/14/22)

A: No programs are being cut. All the programs currently available at ACC will continue and the new building will allow additional students to access the programs. Information about each of the current programs may be found at:

Q: Why is APS only looking at Option 4, a new building? (added 2/14/22)

A: The School Board direction for the FY 2023-32 CIP states “the Superintendent is directed to begin work immediately on the ACC concept design using the:

    • Proposed Base and Alternative Educational Specifications (Ed. Specs); and
    • Option 4 and the proposed Project Requirements

Q: Please explain the difference between the new ACC building capacities as shown in Educational specifications (Ed. Specs) with 1,550 and 1,100 students (see )  The School Board’s CIP direction defining capacity of 1,795 and 1,345 (see$file/G-1%20CIP%20Direction-%20Presentation.pdf) (added 2/14/22)

A: Ed. Specs are based on the spaces required for each program. Each space has a capacity. All spaces are added and multiplied by a capacity factor recognizing that all spaces are not occupied 100% of the time provides a “Building Capacity”.

Ed Specs designing spaces required,
not fully utilized
Building Capacity
Base Ed. Specs 1,550 1,795
Alternative Ed. Specs 1,100 1,345