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School Board Fast-Tracks High School Boundary Change Intended to Increase YHS Enrollment

Meeting Set for Monday, October 17 2016

On October 6, the Arlington School Board approved the process for the rapid adoption of high school boundary changes intended to increase the enrollment at Yorktown High School by at least 200 students. When the high school was rebuilt, the building was designed to hold 1600 students. The fall 2016 enrollment is just under 1900 students. The proposed changes would bring the enrollment to 2200 students or more.

APS will discuss the proposed boundary changes at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 17, in the YHS cafeteria. The final plan is scheduled for presentation to the School Board on November 3, 2016, with implementation of the new high school boundaries starting with the 2017-18 school year.

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Football Field and Track to Close for Synthetic Turf Replacement

The civic association has been notified by Arlington County that both the football field and track at Greenbrier Park/Yorktown High School will be closed from June 13 through August 1, 2016, for replacement of the synthetic turf and other improvements.

The $1.6 million improvement project was approved by the County Board on April 16, with the cost being split between FY 2016 Pay-As-You-Go Parks maintenance capital funds and funding from Arlington Public Schools. $674,000 of the total was awarded to Fieldturf USA Inc for installation of an EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) and silica sand replacement field, which is expected to be “softer than crumb rubber and is less abrasive on turf fibers than rubber,” according to a press release from Arlington County.

In addition to installation of new turf, the project includes the addition of new inlaid game field markings (including mid-field logo and end zone lettering), replacement of corner flags, combination football/soccer goals, and discus cage, as well as necessary repairs to the field base. The total approved by the Board also includes expenses related to design, survey, construction and project management.

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Greenbrier Park: Football Field and 2 Ball Diamonds to February 2007

 

Construction began at the beginning of 2006 with the initial focus on the football field and bleachers. The project is to be completed by June 2007.

Greenbrier Park is owned and maintained by the Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources even though it is the home of the Yorktown High School athletic fields and the school is the park’s biggest user.

Three public forums were held in late 2004 on the renovation plans – on September 21, November 18 and December 14 – and a final meeting was held on February 17 2005 at Yorktown High School. The focus of the final meeting was on operational issues. To guard against excessive increases in traffic and noise, especially late at night, the Civic Association has asked the County to close the park at 10:30 p.m. with no late night adult league games and to put clear limits on hours of sound system usage. Area residents have also expressed concerns about access to the track during sporting events and reductions in off-street parking.

Some of the major changes that will be made during the renovation include:

  • Splitting the park into 3 tiers at different elevations.
  • Moving the baseball diamond off of the football field.
  • Placing the track around the football field.
  • Constructing two new softball diamonds.
  • Constructing new bleachers, restrooms and concession stands.
  • Provision of new and additional landscaping and fencing.
  • Installation of new “dark sky” lighting and new sound systems.
  • Installation of synthetic turf on the football field.
  • Replacement of storm drains and underground drainage systems.

The design also re-configures and reduces the amount of parking, but the parking lot size will be reduced even more after Phase II of Yorktown High renovations are completed in a few years. Those plans call for an increase in parking spaces south of the school building. In the meantime, installation of the outdoor basketball court will be delayed at Greenbrier Park under the latest design.

As its design consultant for the renovation of Greenbrier Park, the County is using Lewis Scully Gionet, Inc., with assistance from Bowie Gridley Architects, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. and Straughan Environmental Services, Inc.

The County planner leading the design effort is Robert Capper. Robert can be reached at (703) 228-3337 or be email at rcapper@arlingtonva.us.

History of Planning Process

In October, 2000, Arlington County began a master planning process for Greenbrier and Chestnut Hills Parks. The Chestnut Hills process was later suspended, but the master planning process for Greenbrier continued, and in November, 2002, Arlington County voters approved a bond issue which contained funding for formal planning for field upgrades and other improvements at the park.

On June 26, 2004, the Arlington County Board approved a contract authorizing the expenditure of up to $775,000 for the detailed design of Greenbrier Park improvements and voted to include $8.6-million in the fall 2004 bond vote for Greenbrier Park improvements. These actions clear the way for construction of park improvements to begin in 2005. The County selected the firm of Lewis Scully Gionet of Vienna, VA, to provide design services.

The Parks Dept. held the first of the public meetings regarding the development of the detailed park improvement design on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004, at the Yorktown High School cafeteria. All residents within the Yorktown neighborhood were notified of this meeting by the Arlington County Parks Department. The Yorktown Civic Association’s Greenbrier Park committee has also closely monitoring the design process (see: Neigbhorhood Priorities). Check the website regularly for updates on the design process.

Yorktown Civic Association Plan

The master plan for Greenbrier Park, as adopted by the county, contains several differences from a plan adopted by the Civic Association during the master planning process in late 2001/early 2002.

 

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County Board Approves Greenbrier Park Construction Contract

Construction Planned from January 2006 through June 2007

At its meeting on November 16, 2005, the County Board voted 5-0 to award the $10.4 million contract for renovating Greenbrier Park to Corinthian Contractors, Inc., of Arlington. The contract includes $9.5 million for construction, plus a $900,000 contingency for possible change orders. Funding of $8.6 million for the project was included in the county’s $75 million 2004 Parks and Recreation Bond. Corinthian was the only construction firm to bid on the project.

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Greenbrier Park: Yorktown Neighborhood Priorities

The Yorktown Civic Association recognizes the critical importance of Greenbrier Park to Yorktown High School sports and to Arlington residents in nearby neighborhoods, and would like to see the park’s redevelopment serve the best interests of these populations.  YCA also supports Arlington County recreational activities in the park to the extent that usage is appropriate for this limited-sized facility located adjacent to many Arlington family homes and to the extent that such usage does not adversely impact Yorktown High School and the local neighborhood.

The Yorktown Civic Association has identified the following priorities for the redevelopment of Greenbrier Park:

  1. The neighborhood is very concerned that planned renovations at Greenbrier Park will result in a significant expansion of park usage, and therefore park usage hours must be clearly established and posted.  No sporting events or organized practices should be scheduled prior to 9 a.m. on weekends, and all games and practices must end by 10:30 p.m. or earlier 7 days per week.  No P.A. system use should occur prior to Noon.
  2. Synthetic turf should not be installed in the lower field area.  If synthetic turf is to be installed on the competition field, it is imperative that hours of use be limited as described above.
  3. The master plan anticipated that the lower-field parking area would not be removed until additional parking is made available as part of phase-II Yorktown High remodeling.  Existing off-street parking must not be diminished during or after redevelopment of the park.  The neighborhood continues to have concerns about the parking arrangement proposed in the master plan, especially during larger events.
  4. Scheduling of the park renovations must anticipate other space/location needs that may arise as part of the phase-II Yorktown remodeling.  Several school construction-related issues were not addressed in the park master plan.  For example, will any of the lower field area be needed for temporary classrooms or school construction staging?  What is the likely replacement timeframe and design of the existing swimming pool building?
  5. Extensive attention must be devoted to the following areas in order to reduce negative impacts on nearby residents:  drainage, field lighting, and the sound system.  Drainage from the fields has been a major problem for residents living north of the park (on Greencastle St.).  A two-tiered lighting system should be installed that offers lower lighting during non-game periods of park use.  The sound system must allow adequate quality and control to prevent noise spillage into the surrounding neighborhood.
  6. Significant improvements to the existing buffer are needed.  Likewise, if any existing trees are to be removed, it is expected that the County adheres to its own tree replacement policy.
  7. The design, location and construction materials of the new bleachers should take into account the impact of noise and lighting on the neighborhood.  For example, the ability to maintain and keep the bleacher area clean and free of trash should be a priority.  Also, the noise and lighting impact may be less if the home team bleachers are moved to the north side of the competition field.
  8. Consideration should be given to moving the track straight-of-way to the north side of the track to provide some noise reduction for nearby neighbors.
  9. The chain link fence should be replaced with materials that fit with the appearance of the new school addition and with the homes in the neighborhood, possibly using materials such as brick and wrought iron.
  10. Given the number of neighborhood residents currently using the track for walking and daily exercise, residents are concerned that there will be a reduction of access to the track during sporting events.  Consideration should be given to designing a walking trail for the park to offset this potential denial of access.
  11. The design should include replacement of the sidewalk on the east side of the park along Greenbrier Street.  It currently has a dangerous drop-off to the parking area below.
  12. The entrance and exit to the football field should remain at the northeast corner of the field, closest to the off-street parking area, given the proposed parking plan.