Frequently Asked Questions

ACPS is interested in your questions about the project. The list below includes the most frequently asked questions about the project. If you have a question that we have not addressed, please send us your question via e-mail to jbrinson@programmanagers.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

  1. Why does the Jefferson-Houston School need to be replaced?
  2. How can I follow the planning process for the new Jefferson-Houston School?
  3. Who is involved in the planning and design of the new Jefferson-Houston?
  4. Is there a way to participate in this process without physically attending the meetings?
  5. How will community feedback be gathered and integrated into the project?
  6. Aside from instructional use, how will the school facility be available to the community for other use?
  7. How tall will the new building be?
  8. Will the current school building be demolished during the construction of the new school building?
  9. How will the neighbors receive information during the construction process?
  10. Who is VMDO?
  11. Who is Brailsford & Dunlavey?
  12. How will the students be affected by construction?

1. Why does the Jefferson-Houston School need to be replaced?

Building Facts:

  • Built in 1970
  • Open classroom design concept
  • Designed for K5 students

2009 EMG Facilities Report found that the Jefferson-Houston building has significant maintenance needs. In total, the maintenance will cost over $12.7 million over the next twenty years. This expenditure will only maintain the existing facility and does not transform the school to address the academic needs of today. Jefferson-Houston's internal layout is obsolete and the structure is inflexible. The design leaves many classrooms without windows, full walls or adequate storage space.

  • Small, triangular classrooms
  • Limited classroom storage (one closet per five classrooms)
  • Limited natural lighting and open sound transmission between adjacent spaces

The current Jefferson-Houston location is the most logical site for a new school.

  • Given current enrollment numbers and projections for the next several years, ACPS will need more student space in the East end of Alexandria. Lyles-Crouch, Mount Vernon, George Mason, Douglas MacArthur, and Maury elementary schools are at capacity.

2. How can I follow the planning process for the new Jefferson-Houston School?

Sign up to receive project updates through ACPS E-News and check the website for regular updates.

3. Who is involved in the planning and design of the new Jefferson-Houston?

ACPS has established the following committees to ensure engagement and collaboration internally and externally with stakeholders, community, and regulatory agencies.

Core Team members consist of ACPS staff, the architects team from VMDO/Concordia and their consultants, the project managers for the project from Brailsford & Dunlavey, a representative of the School Board, Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities staff, and others as required.

Community meetings occur on at least a monthly basis. This allows the community to provide valued input throughout the design and construction process.

4. Is there a way to participate in this process without physically attending the meetings?

Yes. All community meetings are videotaped and posted on the project website. We accept comments and questions via e-mail through the Contact Us section of the website.

5. How will community feedback be gathered and integrated into the project?

Feedback is collected in various forms, including polling results from community meetings, e-mails, and staff meetings. All are weighed against the requirements of the educational specifications for the building, City requirements, and budget requirements.

6. Aside from instructional use, how will the school facility be available to the community for other uses?

Playing fields, play areas, green space, a media center, a theater, and a gymnasium will be accessible to the community after school hours and activities.

7. How tall will the new building be?

Zoning code requirements establish that the building height shall not exceed 45 feet.

8. Will the current school building be demolished during the construction of the new school building?

Due to division-wide space and budgetary constraints, the current Jefferson-Houston building will be preserved during the construction of the new school. This will allow the student population to remain in their classrooms until the new building is completed.

9. How will the neighbors receive information during the construction process?

Updates will be provided via the regular monthly community meetings, e-mails, and the ACPS website. Parents may also be advised via the ACPS robo-call system.

10. Who is VMDO?

VMDO/Concordia Architects (http://www.vmdo.com) is the design team that was chosen via an RFP process to design the future Jefferson-Houston School. They are very experienced in designing environmentally friendly and innovative schools that give the students best possible learning environments. Please look at their work on school projects to see the quality and range of their work firsthand: (http://www.vmdo.com/portfolio_projects_category.php?cat=K-12%20Education).

11. Who is Brailsford & Dunlavey?

Brailsford & Dunlavey is the project management firm that ACPS hired via an RFP process to be the ACPS project managers to ensure an on-time, on-budget, successful new school opening at Jefferson-Houston. Willard Mangrum is a vice-president at Brailsford & Dunlavey and the lead for the project management team. Jay Brinson is a senior project manager for B&D and the main project manager for the Jefferson-Houston project. John Montemayor is a project analyst supporting the work on the project. More information on Brailsford & Dunlavey can be found at: http://www.programmanagers.com/ht/d/sp/i/306/pid/306.

12. How will the students be affected by construction?

The students will remain in the current building during construction. This will allow the students to remain focused upon their scholastic studies while their new building is being constructed. The construction noise will be mitigated to the largest extent possible during this phase of the project.