Swing Space at Patrick Henry for Douglas MacArthur Modernization

Kids doing class work
  • Douglas MacArthur Elementary School will be using the old Patrick Henry facility as swing space starting in summer 2020 while the current Douglas MacArthur building is modernized. This page provides updates on this project.

    Project Updates 

    July 10, 2019: Swing Space Update

    This event was followed by a meeting of the Collaborative Committee. Two chairs were selected for this project: Michael Doney, who represents Patrick Henry, and Dana Chambers, a Douglas MacArthur representative. 

    Committee members discussed the concept design and heard about the communities reaction from the earlier event. They identified concerns, challenges and opportunities to work on including: options to expand parking, keeping some green space and providing safe emergency evacuation routes for students and staff. They did not set a date yet for the next session. 

    Stay tuned for additional details on our website:www.acps.k12.acps.va.us/swingspace.

    June 5, 2019: Collaborative MacArthur and Patrick Henry Swing Space Committee

    June 3, 2019: Collaborative MacArthur and Patrick Henry Swing Space Committee

    View Presentation (PDF)

    The meeting included:

    • A discussion of the role of the committee;
    • The role of James K. Polk Elementary School and PTA in the committee going forward;
    • An outline of how the committee was selected; 
    • A proposal to hold community meetings prior to the Collaborative MacArthur and Patrick Henry Swing Space Committee meetings so that the committee can hear what the community has to say before it takes actions to resolve the issues raised;
    • A outline of the traffic study and potential walking issues that will require solutions;
    • Frequency of the meetings that will be held when ACPS has specific information to share or specific issues to resolve;
    • ACPS would like the committee to review the site plans prior to submission that will require meeting in July/August;
    • The work that will be required by the committee following any DSUP amendment in November.

    Update: May 21, 2019: Superintendent's Patrick Henry and Douglas MacArthur Collaborative Committee

    ACPS is establishing the Superintendent's Patrick Henry and Douglas MacArthur Collaborative Committee.

    The goal is to be able to meet the needs of both Douglas MacArthur Elementary School and Patrick Henry School as we begin the work to update the old Patrick Henry building and use it as swing space for MacArthur.

    This group will incorporate some of those who have previously served on the expired Patrick Henry Advisory Group who wish to continue to serve, as well as inviting further representation from Douglas MacArthur and Patrick Henry, including incoming PTA presidents from each; staff members from each; RPCA representation; a community liaison from a civic association that covers the Douglas MacArthur area; and a School Board member and/or City Council member who represents each school.  

    The role of the committee will be to:

    • Represent interests that support a successful visiting occupancy of Douglas MacArthur on the Patrick Henry site
    • Identify concerns and challenges of the dual use
    • Propose solutions as they arise during the dual occupancy
    • Facilitate positive relationships between the two schools and communities

    The group will meet monthly, with the first meeting on Monday, June 3, 2019 in the library at Patrick Henry School from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

    April 1, 2019: Swing Space Meeting - Patrick Henry Elementary School 


    March 20, 2019: Swing Space Meeting - Douglas MacArthur Elementary School (2:45 PM) 

    March 20, 2019: Swing Space Meeting - Douglas MacArthur Elementary School (5:30 PM)

    March 20, 2019: Swing Space Meeting - James K. Polk Elementary School

    March 19, 2019: Swing Space Meeting - Patrick Henry Elementary School

    Swing Space Community Meeting

    ACPS will be giving updates on the swing space project and soliciting feedback at community meetings throughout the double occupancy of the site. The first of these open community meetings will be on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at Patrick Henry School in the cafetorium from 6 p.m to 7 p.m.

    ACPS will be using the old Patrick Henry school building as a swing space during the modernization of Douglas MacArthur Elementary School, as approved by the school board on April 4, 2019.

    • ACPS commits to work with the City of Alexandria to further examine the plan's impact on traffic and student drop-off, and to make needed adjustments to alleviate traffic concerns.
    • ACPS commits to work with the City of Alexandria to further examine the plan’s impact on parking, and to identify, in advance of the Douglas MacArthur move-in, both on-site and off-site options that will ensure adequate parking for school staff and parents of both schools, and members of the community.
    • ACPS commits to demolish the old Patrick Henry school upon completion of the new Douglas MacArthur Elementary School.
    • ACPS commits to immediately explore the feasibility of renovating/replacing George Mason Elementary School and Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology while the existing school sites remain in operation, and to identify alternative (non-Patrick Henry) swing space options for those sites in the event swing space is needed.
    • ACPS commits to working with the City of Alexandria, including its Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA), to identify possibilities for enhancement of neighborhood open spaces and playgrounds that could be used by students and community members.

    What’s next?

    ACPS is in the process of working out the specific details. Operational plans will include parking, traffic flow, safety issues, playground upgrades and completion, and upgrades needed to the Patrick Henry building to ensure it is in good condition by the time Douglas MacArthur students arrive there to begin the 2020-21 school year. Information will be shared as it becomes available.

    Early Fall 2019: ACPS will present the specifics of the plan to the Planning Commission and City Council to ensure our plan complies with the City’s requirements for temporary occupancy.

Swing Space Timeline
  • Community involvement:

    ACPS will be reaching out to the Patrick Henry community and Douglas MacArthur community to find ways to bring the two communities together to find solutions to issues that may arise during this process.

    A new Douglas MacArthur Advisory Group will also be formed to give input into the design of the new Douglas MacArthur facility, which is the standard ACPS process for engagement for any new construction.

    We will be communicating regularly with both the Douglas MacArthur and Patrick Henry communities around these projects. To stay informed, please sign up for email updates.