PV arrays at Fleet Elementary School

The new Alice West Fleet Elementary School has a compact footprint of 38,720 square feet, yet still locates a full-sized gymnasium, stage, dining commons, kitchen, administrative offices, and all PreK and Kindergarten classrooms on the ground floor with direct outdoor access.




Grades 1 and 2 are located on the second floor, grades 3 and 4 on the third floor, and the 5th grade is on a smaller fourth floor. In deference to the neighborhood context, the building “steps back” as it “goes up” – placing the 4th story portion of the building closest to the center of the site and as far away from houses as possible. The building sits on a podium over a single level of structured parking that can accommodate 228 parking spots in addition to 20 surface parking spots. The design allows for the demolition of existing parking to support the creation of a new corner park and pedestrian entryway into the site.

The new Alice West Fleet Elementary School has a compact footprint of 38,720 square feet, yet still locates a full-sized gymnasium, stage, dining commons, kitchen, administrative offices, and all PreK and Kindergarten classrooms on the ground floor with direct outdoor access.




Grades 1 and 2 are located on the second floor, grades 3 and 4 on the third floor, and the 5th grade is on a smaller fourth floor. In deference to the neighborhood context, the building “steps back” as it “goes up” – placing the 4th story portion of the building closest to the center of the site and as far away from houses as possible. The building sits on a podium over a single level of structured parking that can accommodate 228 parking spots in addition to 20 surface parking spots. The design allows for the demolition of existing parking to support the creation of a new corner park and pedestrian entryway into the site.

Gym at Fleet Elementary School
East View at Fleet Elementary School

Ambitious planning goals for this elementary school included a comprehensive approach to universal design, the creation of a zero energy building, as well as pursuit of LEED certification at the Gold level. The proposed “pedestrian mall” between the parking structure and the existing middle school will allow the three building entrances primarily used by the students to become fully accessible and bring more natural light into the lower levels of buildings. Park amenities will also be greatly enhanced as a surface parking lot is transformed into an engaging landscape for students, neighbors, and the citizens of Arlington.




Innovative design strategies and a thorough, transparent, and engaging community process allayed concerns about the new school – located on the site of Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Community Center, and Park – taking away green space on an already constrained urban site. The design team built community buy-in and confidence by ensuring a cohesive park was retained and that no significant loss of green space and no net loss of recreational programming occurred. In addition, traffic, parking, and pedestrian walkways / bikeways were closely studied and designed to provide streamlined transportation options and optimal safety and security. The building’s design was influenced by the WELL building standard, which supports the wellness of building inhabitants and the environmental health of the site – which is being improved with strategic pedestrian connections and storm water strategies. The school is on track to open for the first day of school in September 2019.

Ambitious planning goals for this elementary school included a comprehensive approach to universal design, the creation of a zero energy building, as well as pursuit of LEED certification at the Gold level. The proposed “pedestrian mall” between the parking structure and the existing middle school will allow the three building entrances primarily used by the students to become fully accessible and bring more natural light into the lower levels of buildings. Park amenities will also be greatly enhanced as a surface parking lot is transformed into an engaging landscape for students, neighbors, and the citizens of Arlington.




Innovative design strategies and a thorough, transparent, and engaging community process allayed concerns about the new school – located on the site of Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Community Center, and Park – taking away green space on an already constrained urban site. The design team built community buy-in and confidence by ensuring a cohesive park was retained and that no significant loss of green space and no net loss of recreational programming occurred. In addition, traffic, parking, and pedestrian walkways / bikeways were closely studied and designed to provide streamlined transportation options and optimal safety and security. The building’s design was influenced by the WELL building standard, which supports the wellness of building inhabitants and the environmental health of the site – which is being improved with strategic pedestrian connections and storm water strategies. The school is on track to open for the first day of school in September 2019.

Exterior and Landscape at Fleet Elementary School
Ground Floor at Fleet Elementary School
2nd Floor at Fleet Elementary School

Client: Arlington Public Schools

Location: Arlington, VA

Discipline: Primary + Elementary Schools

Completion: 2019

Size: 109,988 SF