Arlington County Board to Appoint Working Group for Thomas Jefferson Site

  • Working Group to study feasibility of locating elementary school on site
  • 5-month study to provide recommendations
  • County seeks community comment on Public Land Site Evaluation

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board will ask a broad-based working group to evaluate, together with County staff, the feasibility of adding an elementary school to the Thomas Jefferson site.

“Our County is desirable and growing, and more students are entering our school system,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “We need to work together to find creative ways to meet this challenge. This working group will bring together community members, Schools, and County staff for a robust consideration of whether to use a portion of the Thomas Jefferson site for a new elementary school.”

The Board voted 4 to 0 to accept the charge establishing the working group's goals and membership. The group will include representatives from nearby civic associations, Arlington Public Schools, other civic representatives and appointed advisory boards and commissions. There will be a County Board liaison.

First meeting in September

The Working Group is expected to begin meeting in September, and to present specific recommendations to the County Board by January 2015. The County goals identified for the site include:

  • Retain the current wooded eastern end of “TJ Park” as is (area along the western portion of South Irving Street and stretching west along Arlington Blvd.); maintain a cohesive park; ensure no significant loss of green space and no net loss of recreational programming.
  • Consider the neighborhood impacts of traffic and parking and ensure safety of existing pedestrian walkways and bikeways.
  • Ensure that the community center would remain available for use.
  • Ensure the building massing is compatible with adjacent neighborhood.


Earlier this month, the Arlington Public Schools (APS) Board adopted its FY 2015- FY 202a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), and identified the Thomas Jefferson site as the “preferred” option for a new elementary school. At a joint meeting between the Schools and County boards, the County Board directed County staff to work collaboratively with schools and the community to evaluate the site, which is bounded by Arlington Blvd to the north, South Irving Street to the east, 2nd Street South to the south, South Old Glebe to the west.

In addition to the Thomas Jefferson process, the Board asked the manager to provide draft guidelines for Public Land Site Evaluation. Community members will be able to post comments on the County website through September 30. After review of those comments, the Long Range Planning Committee of the Planning Commission will lead a continued community dialogue. The intention of the guidelines is to provide strategic Board direction for consideration of new uses on County-held lands. The Board expects to adopt the Guidelines by the end of 2014.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.