Swing Space at Patrick Henry for Douglas MacArthur Modernization

Kids doing class work
  • 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. Starting in the summer of 2020, while the Douglas MacArthur building is modernized, the elementary school will be known as Douglas MacArthur on Taney Avenue.

    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.  Research has shown that providing high-quality learning environments can have a big impact on the ability of children to learn. 

    ACPS will be providing updates on the swing space project and soliciting feedback at community meetings throughout the double occupancy of the site. All meeting are docuemnted on the project updates page

    ACPS has established a Patrick Henry and Douglas MacArthur Collaborative Committee to help ensure a smooth transition. The committee includes members from the former Patrick Henry Advisory Group, as well as representatives from both school’s PTA, staff members, RPCA, civic association liaisons and School Board and City Council members.   

    What's New?

    Proposed Start Time/Dismissal Time Changes

    Patrick Henry K-8 School Start Time: 8 a.m.
    Patrick Henry K-8 School Dismissal Time: 2:35 p.m.
    (No change to either start or dismissal times)

    Douglas MacArthur Elementary School Start Time: 8:30 a.m.
    Douglas MacArthur Elementary School  Dismissal Time: 3:05 p.m.
    (This is a 30 minute change from MacArthur’s usual schedule)

    Reversed Two-Way Traffic Circulation to ensure safe parent drop-off/pick-up

    Morning

    Patrick Henry K-8 School Parent Drop-Off: 7:45 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. on the Patrick Henry School site, directly in front of the main Patrick Henry School doors
    (This is a change of location from Latham Street. There is no change to the drop-off time)

    Douglas MacArthur Elementary School Parent School Drop-Off: 8:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. on the Douglas MacArthur on Taney Avenue site, on the east side of the building in the parking lot. 
    (This is a 30 minute change in the usual schedule)

    Afternoon

    Patrick Henry K-8 School Parent Pick-up: 2:45 p.m. - 2:55 p.m. on the Foxchase side of Patrick Henry School.
    (There is no change to the dismissal time.)

    Douglas MacArthur Elementary Parent School Drop-Off: 3:15 p.m. - 3:25 p.m on the Douglas MacArthur on Taney Avenue site, on the east side of the building in the parking lot. 
    (This is a 30 minute change in the usual schedule)

    Reasons For These Changes

    Student Safety - Due to the amount of students on the single campus, access to the site and the circulation of traffic on the site, the two schools will need to start at different times to ensure the safe entry and exit of all students.

    Condition for City Council Approval - The split start/dismissal times are expected to be a condition of the City’ Council’s approval of the use of the of Patrick Henry building as swing space during MacArthur’s modernization.

    The reversed two-way traffic circulation will be a condition of the City’ Council’s approval of the use of the of Patrick Henry building as swing space during MacArthur’s modernization.

    It is best practice in schools to have drop-off on the side of the street of the school to ensure students are not crossing in front of moving cars while being dropped-off or picked-up. Because the street access will be in between the two schools, traffic engineers have proposed a drop-off plan wherein Patrick Henry parents will drop off in a counter-clockwise circulation on the site and the 30 minutes between staggered start times will allow for the drop-off circulation to switch to clockwise for Douglas MacArthur students. This also allows for maximum queuing on the site rather than on the street during dual occupancy. Two way circulation will remain open throughout the site during off-peak times, and on the west side of the site, through peak times as well to provide access to and from the Recreation Center.

    These accommodations were recommended by independent traffic engineers, hired to advise on the safety of the site.

    Bus Arrangements

    ACPS needs all students to be riding the school bus or walking to school from fall 2020. This is essential to maintain the safety of the site and to keep neighborhood traffic to a minimum.

    From fall 2020, all Douglas MacArthur students will be offered transportation, probably from multiple assigned neighborhood bus stops, in line with ACPS policy. We will be asking families to sign up to ride the bus well in advance.

    Patrick Henry bus-eligibility will remain the same as this school year. However, we are asking parents whose children are eligible to walk or eligible to ride the bus to consider using these methods of transportation to and from school instead of car drop-off/pick-up.

    Parking

    The site will have 197 parking spaces. We have approximately 180 combined staff at both schools, so the number of parking spaces fully covers any staff member who wishes to drive to work. There will also be space for parents/visitors  visiting the school and/or using the Rec Center during the school day to park.

    Playgrounds

    Patrick Henry K-8 School students will use the new playgrounds developed along Latham Street. These will be kept specifically for Patrick Henry usage during the school day.

    Douglas Macarthur will use the existing play space at the old Patrick Henry facility. This will be upgraded with new equipment ahead of the start of school in the fall.

    All playgrounds will be open to all students and families/community after school hours, per ACPS current policy. 

    Planning Commission and City Council Hearing in November

    Use of the old Patrick Henry facility as swing space for Douglas MacArthur will come before the Planning Commission on Thursday, November 7 at 7 p.m. View Docket

    Use of the old Patrick Henry facility as swing space for Douglas MacArthur will come before the City Council on Saturday, November 16 at 9:30 a.m. This will be linked to the docket once it has been posted.