The House has passed legislation to transfer most of the Army's 87-acre Arlington Hall Station, home of a top-secret intelligence and security command, to the State Department as a new home for the Foreign Service Institute.
The transfer, part of a military construction bill passed yesterday, has been eagerly awaited by Arlington County officials who are eyeing the possibility of using some of the land for recreational purposes and a new police station.
"Everybody favors getting some control over Arlington Hall for Arlington County," County Board member Michael E. Brunner said yesterday. "Once that happens, the battles will begin on how to use it. Are we going to get a long-term use? How will we work things out with the Army and the Foreign Service Institute?"
Preliminary plans call for the Army to keep 15 acres of the central Arlington complex when it moves 1,500 Intelligence and Security Command employes to Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County in 1987. An Army spokesman said yesterday that the Army is studying the possible use of its remaining land for consolidation of National Guard offices in the area.
The other 72 acres would be turned over to the institute, which wants to build a $55 million facility to train the almost 10,000 Foreign Service employes who now study foreign languages and cultures each year at three sites in Rosslyn.
The institute has been talking to Arlington officials about possible county use of an undetermined amount of the site, south of Arlington Boulevard (Rte. 50) between George Mason Drive and Glebe Road.
The House version of the bill authorizes the Army to transfer the 72 acres without charge to the General Services Administration, the federal government's landlord, which would then turn it over to the State Department, according to a spokesman for Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.).
A Senate bill, passed in June, differs only slightly, calling for a direct transfer from the Army to the State Department, said the spokesman, Ed Newberry.
No date has been set yet for a House-Senate conference to resolve the differences between the two bills, but GSA has given Wolf assurances that it will transfer the property to the State Department, Newberry said.
The county wants to use one part of the compound west of George Mason Drive for a playground or park, and has discussed using another piece in the southwest quadrant as the site for a police station.
All but the administration sections of the current county police station, behind the courthouse, are expected to be moved to make room for the $150 million Court House Plaza office-residential-hotel complex.