The State Department's Foreign Service Institute, which trains 10,000 federal employes each year in foreign languages and cultures, has announced a plan to build a new $61 million campus at Arlington Hall, a 90-acre facility being abandoned by Army intelligence personnel.
Arlington County officials said yesterday they are happy about the State Department's proposal because the facility would be compatible with nearby South Arlington residential neighborhoods.
"It's with some relief that we hear what their plans are," said Arlington County Board Chairman John G. Milliken. "It sounds very neighborly. There's always been a concern [about high density development there] because this is an enormous tract of land in an attractive part of the county."
The property, located between Glebe Road and George Mason Drive, was a women's junior college until the Army took it over in 1942. The Army's Intelligence and Security Command had previously announced plans to move the 1,500 military and civilian personnel working there now to Fort Belvoir by 1987.
State Department officials said they are receptive to proposals by county officials that county residents be allowed to use some auditoriums and that the county operate a playground and park on eight acres of the property.
Defense Department and State Department authorization bills clearing the way for the new facility are pending in Congress and are expected to be brought up in the House in coming weeks.
In the last 43 years, the Foreign Service Institute has been housed in a series of temporary, cramped quarters.
"We've been shunted from one place to another," said the institute's director, Stephen Low. "The time has come for us to be housed in a permanent location."
State Department officials said they hope to have the three-story complex completed by 1989.