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Joint city-schools capital planning task force tours proposed public school project sites.
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Joint city-schools capital planning task force tours proposed public school project sites.

The vehicle maintenance garage at the ACPS Transportation Center. Four maintenance bays service all of ACPS’s vehicles, though not all bays can accommodate buses. Currently mechanics are able adequately to prepare buses each day for their morning runs, but only if they “hump,” according to one mechanic. With busing capacity needs expected to increase with rising enrollment, more bays and parking are needed. Upgrading the facility will cost an estimated $6.1 million over FY19-27. A fleet management study, which the city expects to be complete by late fall, may identify opportunities to streamline both city and school vehicle maintenance. Currently the two fleets are maintained in separate facilities across the street from one another.

The vehicle maintenance garage at the ACPS Transportation Center. Four maintenance bays service all of ACPS’s vehicles, though not all bays can accommodate buses. Currently mechanics are able adequately to prepare buses each day for their morning runs, but only if they “hump,” according to one mechanic. With busing capacity needs expected to increase with rising enrollment, more bays and parking are needed. Upgrading the facility will cost an estimated $6.1 million over FY19-27. A fleet management study, which the city expects to be complete by late fall, may identify opportunities to streamline both city and school vehicle maintenance. Currently the two fleets are maintained in separate facilities across the street from one another.

— The Ad Hoc Joint City-Schools Facility Investment Task Force toured several of Alexandria City Public Schools’ (ACPS) capital projects on Monday, Aug. 14. City Council charged the task force to find a way to sequence and streamline 33 city and public school system capital projects during FY19-27. These are forecasted to cost $645 million, leaving a funding gap of $106 million. The photos show the variety of the school system’s reported needs, namely with respect to increasing capacity for projected enrollment growth.

The occupational therapist’s office at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School

includes electrical panels, which, for fire safety reasons, preclude anyone from sitting closer than 21 inches from the rear wall. ACPS says Douglas MacArthur is among its sites that are most under-capacity and in the worst material condition. Other problems include visibly evident water intrusion through the outer walls and an air conditioning system on the fritz. Reconstructing the school will cost an estimated $48.6 million over FY19-27. It will also be the first to require a temporary school (“swing space”) to accommodate students in the interim, at the additional cost of $22 million in FY19.

An inoperable wheelchair lift at Cora Kelly Elementary School. Because the lift

is old, ACPS has been unable to locate replacement parts to get it back in working order. As there is no other mechanized access to the upper floor, school leadership has to rearrange teachers and classrooms to accommodate disabled students on the ground floor. This means that school is currently out of compliance with the American with Disabilities Act. ACPS says Cora Kelly is among its sites that are in the worst material condition. Other problems include no fire sprinklers in most rooms and a roof in need of replacement. ACPS’s $1 million emergency reserve would not be enough to cover a catastrophic roof failure. Reconstructing the school will cost an estimated $30 million over FY19-27, as well as require “swing space.”

A utility basement at George Mason Elementary School has flooded with raw

sewage several times in recent years, due to malfunctions and inadequate sizing of the pump apparatus. ACPS says George Mason is among its sites that are most under-capacity and in the worst material condition. Reconstructing the school will cost an estimated $40.9 million over FY19-27, as well as require “swing space.”

The Task Force and entourage crowd into George Mason Elementary School’s band room, which is too small to accommodate a full rehearsal including all of about 100 band members.

Other improvements needed:

A windowless classroom at George Mason Elementary School.

A utility basement housing electrical equipment at George Mason Elementary School floods during heavy rains.

A large crack through a tiled cinder block wall at T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus, ostensibly caused by an earthquake. ACPS proposes constructing a new high school at the Minnie Howard site, which will cost an estimated $118.4 million over FY19-27 — the single most expensive project under the Task Force’s consideration.

A rotting outside window casing at Matthew Maury Elementary School. Water damage and intrusion into inside spaces was a common theme on the tour. ACPS says Matthew Maury is among its sites that are in the worst material condition. Design and planning for school reconstruction will cost an estimated $6.1 million over FY19-27. Construction will cost an estimated $30 million, beginning FY28, one year beyond the Task Force’s purview.

An undersized resource-room-turned-classroom at Matthew Maury Elementary School. While the grade level served requires 900 square feet, the room actually measures 600 square feet.