On October 3, 2012, APS and their design team from VMDO conducted the 3rd BLPC for the new Elementary School at Williamsburg Middle School campus. The overall theme of the meeting was Site and Massing for the new school with an agenda that covered Project Priorities, Parking/Transportation studies, Landscape Design, and Review of two different master plans for the site. A copy of the full presentation is available on-line at http://www.apsva.us/newES1.
In terms of the Parking, APS’s consultant will be presenting the results of their analysis at the next BLPC meeting on October 10th. In addition, there will be a Community Meeting with the APS traffic consultant (the Toole Group) regarding Traffic Impacts on Thursday, Oct 11th from 7-9pm at WMS. The Toole team continues to collect and analyze data from traffic counts and level of service at various intersections around the WMS campus. Each school is also encouraged to have their parents complete it. To date, 134 Jamestown parents have responded to this survey. http://www.saferoutesdata.org/surveyformparent.cfm?key=403575
After walking through some landscape plan alternatives for the site, the lion share of the meeting focused on reviewing the VMDO’s two more developed master plans for the site. The first “Hilltown Concept” depicts a new school built into the grade of the campus on the South Eastern Corner/36th Street side of the parcel. It would be a three-story building closest to the existing WMS building transitioning down to one-story piece closest to 36th Street side. The bus loading was shown on 36th Street. Many members of the BLPC were enthusiastic about the plan as it leaves all the fields on the Western Portion of the site intact. However, APS would need to have some of the fields move a little to the East to tuck in a row of parking somewhere along the perimeter of the site.
The second master plan was a “Western Scheme” where the new school is sited in the Western quadrant of the campus on one of the existing soccer fields. However, based on the dimensions, there still seemed to the ability to maintain the baseball field and two smaller, but still sizable soccer fields. The parking shown here will be moved to border site in future iterations. Also, the school will shift South for traffic and pedestrian reduction in congestion.
For the moment, siting the school up near the “Dell” on Harrison Street no longer seems viable. Also, in all scenarios, student and vehicle circulation is being refined but safety and not having kids crossing vehicular paths seems to be an achievable priority.
The design team is including in the master plan a 300-seat addition for the Williamsburg Middle School. Since there is no funding for this addition in this current bond, once the master plan is completed at the end of this year, it will be tabled while they complete the design and construction of new ES #1.
As a final note, Arlington zoning requires each school to have a specific number of parking spaces per child. With the current zoning regulations, WMS would be required to have approximately 700 spaces. A parking lot of this size would essentially take up ¾ of the current sports fields. As they design this new school, the architects need to know how many parking spaces they must include in the design. Within the next few weeks, APS staff will be presenting to the Zoning Sub Committee of the Planning Commission to make recommendations to County on what the zoning requirements should be for this project.
The next meeting of the BLPC is scheduled for next Wednesday, Oct 10th at 7pm at the WMS Library. Carmen Romero and Lara Meadows will be attending and will continue to report back to the Jamestown community on this process.
Questions? Please contact Carmen or Lara at BLPCemail@example.com.