Career Center Update

Montessori Public School of Arlington (MPSA) is moving into a refurbished building on the Career Center campus in fall 2028!

After many years of on-again, off-again deliberations – including a break during the Covid-19 pandemic – Arlington voters and APS leaders have agreed to an overhaul of the Career Center campus that will see MPSA move from the old Henry building into a refurbished version of the current building housing Arlington Tech and related high school programs.

In November 2022, 77% of Arlington voters approved a bond for Arlington Public Schools that provides $138 million, or most of the funds needed to create a new building for the Arlington Tech program. The Arlington School Board also voted to approve the schematic design of a future Arlington Career Center (ACC) building and campus.

The campus overhaul begins with construction starting around December 2023, with MPSA the beneficiary of the first actions resulting in new playgrounds. Below are the concept designs of the playgrounds. The Primary playground will begin where the picnic area is and wrap around the building on the 7th Street side. Directly adjacent to that playground will be the Lower and Upper Elementary playgrounds. Not pictured is the new half-court basketball blackgtop. Construction is projected to begin this sring, and none of the current equipment will be removed until the new playground is completed

Primary Montessori playground

Lower/Upper Elementary playground

Lower/Upper Elementary playground

The new high school for Career Center programs could be completed by December 2025. Once the high school students move into their new building, their old one can be converted for Montessori. 

Along with preparing for Montessori, Phase 2 also will see the creation of a parking garage to be attached to the Montessori building, as well as the current surface parking lot in the heart of the campus being converted into a playing field. 

MPSA classes in the existing ACC building should begin in the fall of 2028. Later under Phase 3, eyed for the end of the 2020s, the existing Henry building (housing MPSA now will be demolished and turned into green space.

The new home for MPSA in the refurbished ACC building will accommodate at least 750 students, an increase of roughly 250 students from today’s MPSA in the Henry building. In turn, APS and the Montessori community will consider options for making the best use of the added capacity. Options include:

·         expanding the number of APS Montessori students admitted each year (i.e., drawing more from the annual waitlist),

·         relocating part or all of the Montessori middle school program currently at Gunston to MPSA, with the potential to partner with the new Arlington Tech high school on campus,

·         relocating satellite APS Montessori PreK classrooms from other neighborhoods to MPSA, or

·         some combination of the above.

Whatever those decisions, MPSA will count the Career Center campus on Columbia Pike as its permanent, standalone home for generations to come. This bookends a long transition that started in the fall of 2019 with the APS Montessori Prek-5 program’s leaving the Drew Elementary School and becoming a standalone school. AMAC will stay engaged on the future APS Montessori facilities. Nevertheless, we are grateful for Arlington voters and leaders once again investing in APS Montessori, and we are delighted for all the ACC programs that will receive new and modern facilities under this multifaceted plan. 

Please check the APS info page on the broader Arlington Career Center Expansion effort which includes link to School Board documents and project documents. Additionally, APS maintains a dedicated Arlington Career Center project page with details on the planned work. 

ACC Phases

ACC Phases