Historic Wilson School in Arlington may be redeveloped as a new school

Arlington school and county officials announced Wednesday evening that the school system plans to retain a historic school that it had intended to sell and to consider it for possible redevelopment as a new secondary school.

“Retaining the Wilson property will help APS address our critical shortage of seats for students in a timely manner” said School Board Chair Abby Raphael in a statement issued jointly by Arlington Public Schools and Arlington County.

Under the new plan, the Wilson property will be considered for a possible 1,300 seat, urban model secondary school with a large open space available to the community.

The Wilson School, located in the 1600 block of Wilson Ave., was built in 1910 and is one of the oldest existing public schools in Arlington. The school board’s decision last June to sell the property to a developer for a mixed-use development in the West Rosslyn area prompted an outcry from civic activists and preservationists.

The School Board faces a steep challenge in finding space to build new schools in the increasingly urban county. Since 2006, school enrollment in Arlington has grown by more than 4,850 students, or 26 percent, reaching a high of nearly 24,000 students. Officials expect continued growth.

Michael Alison Chandler writes about schools and families in the Washington region.
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