The Reed School: A brief history explains why it’s such a point of contention.
The Reed School was built in 1938, added onto in the 1960s, and served as an elementary school until 1984, when it was deemed unsafe and unnecessary and closed. At the time, Arlington was experiencing declines in elementary enrollment. Like other former elementary schools (for example, the Lee Center at Lee Highway and Lexington street) the site became a mixed use facility: part community center and part devoted to the Children’s School, a pre-K facility primarily for the children of employees of Arlington Public Schools. Between 1984 and today, enrollment in Arlington County schools began to increase at much more rapid rates than expected. Pressure for elementary school seats began to increase as well.
In 2008, the old building was effectively demolished, with the the exception of the original facade, and a new building combining the Westover branch library, The Children’s School, and several other APS smaller programs was opened. That extensive renovation included a foundation capable of bearing a second floor. As remodeled, the Children’s school has first floor classroom space for approximately 400 students, with additional space on the second floor, though it lacks a full size gym, cafeteria, and library
Since that time enrollments have continued to grow much faster than projected. APS has built a new elementary school in North Arlington (Discovery) and made very substantial additions to others. However, overcrowding remains a severe problem. There have been a number of proposals for the Reed site, which is among the largest Elementary school sites in the County.
HPOK, along with the three neighboring Civic Associations (tara-leeway; Leeway-Overlee; Westover Village), believes that Reed should be returned to use as a walkable neighborhood elementary school. APS has announced that it will soon return to use as an elementary school and also that it will soon be expanded to house 720 students. However, they have not said what kind of school it will be, a walkable neighborhood Elementary school or a countywide “choice” school with enrollment by lottery.