MacArthur Modernization FAQs

  • What is the timeline for the modernization of MacArthur?

    The Douglas MacArthur Elementary School modernization project timeline has been advanced due to the decision to use the former Patrick Henry facility as swing space on Taney Avenue. The original opening date of the new school was scheduled for 2025 but due to the swing space decision, the new school’s doors are scheduled to open in January 2023. 

    Where can I find information about the move to temporary space while the modernization takes place?

    Information on the use of the former Patrick Henry Elementary School as temporary swing space can be found at https://www.acps.k12.va.us/swingspace. While located on Taney Avenue, MacArthur will be known as Douglas MacArthur on Taney Avenue.

    Why is MacArthur being modernized?

    ACPS has been systematically modernizing aging elementary facilities as part of the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan. Douglas MacArthur opened its doors in 1943 to serve the families drawn to the area to support the war effort. The school became part of ACPS in 1947. The envelope of the building has been failing for many years. Research has shown that providing high-quality learning environments can have a big impact on the ability of children to learn. 

    What is the structure of the engagement process for the modernization of MacArthur?

    The engagement process will be divided into three distinct parts:

    • The Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group, who will provide feedback and input to a core team of architects and ACPS staff.
    • A School Team, who will provide feedback and input around learning needs and the flow of the school day during the process.
    • Community meetings. These will take place every two months throughout the process and the dates for these meetings will be shared in advance at the first community meeting.

    When is the next community meeting?

    The next community-wide meeting is on Saturday, November 9 from 9 a.m. to noon at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School in the library.

    When is the first Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group meeting?

    The first DMAG meeting will be on Monday, November 4 in the fifth grade pod.

    When will the community be able to meet the architects and designers who will work on the new Douglas MacArthur Elementary School? 

    The community first met the architects at the first community-wide meeting on Tuesday, October 29 at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School in the multipurpose room. At this meeting, families and residents:

    • Met the design team.
    • Met the Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group.
    • Took part in a Listening Session focused on community values for the new school.

    How can parents and community members get involved?

    Anyone in the community can come to the community meetings and provide their feedback and insights. Nominees are also being solicited to establish a Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group. 

    What will the Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group do?

    The committee will meet approximately once a month, and: 

    • Represent the interests of the group for which they have been selected to serve;
    • Provide feedback on the design;
    • Identify possible challenges and propose solutions.

    Who will be on the Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group?

    The Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group will be made up of representatives from different parts of our community.

    • Taylor Run Civic Association
    • Seminary Hill Civic Association
    • Clover College Park Civic Association
    • A Duke Street area representative
    • The PTA President 
    • A School Board Member
    • A City Council Member
    • Representative from Alexandria City Planning Commission
    • One Community-At-Large Representative

    What is the difference between the Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group meetings and community-wide meetings?

    The Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group will meet approximately once a month to collaborate and provide needed feedback to staff and consultants on the new build. The meetings will be public, but a public comment or public question and answer session will not be part of these meetings. This is standard on such projects. The community will have an opportunity to share their views at the community meetings, held every two months.

    Why can’t the public speak at the Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group meetings?

    Representative designees are the only members to speak/discuss at the advisory group meeting. They represent their constituents/civic association/neighborhood. We operate in this way so that the advisory committee can dig into the work required of them. However, all meetings are open to the public so anyone can come and observe. 

    Can the public speak at the community-wide meetings?

    Yes, the public will be asked to speak at the community-wide meetings. There will be time for questions and answers and public comment. 

    How often will the Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group meet?

    Approximately every other month. The first meeting will be in November.

    How often will there be community-wide meetings?

    These meetings will be held every other month. 

    Is there a possibility that the new Douglas MacArthur could be designed as a K-8 school?

    The funding currently set aside in the CIP for MacArthur is for an elementary school rebuild. K-8 schools are operationally expensive to run and so this is not a model that ACPS is pursuing for future modernization projects. 

    Does ACPS own all the land that we currently see at MacArthur?

    No. The city owns the land to the rear of the building. Some parts of the trailers sit on city land and not school-owned land. The new building would need to be built on school-owned land only.

    Isn't school-owned land and city-owned land technically the same thing?

    No. The schools have to build the land they own. Any city land that is used for a school build has to be compensated for through a land-swap of other school-owned land.