PAC Meeting Minutes – Nov. 17, 2015

Attendees: Casey Robinson,  Laura Saul Edwards, David Tornquist, Meredith Wadman, Laurie Miller, Michael Swisher, Kelly Kabiri, Kristen Colston, Art Saenz, Anne-Marie Bolton, Cindi and Brian Charles, Anne Rogers, Monica and Dave Heil, Celia Boddington, Paula Levin-Alcorn, Jennifer Mazarr, Jacky Jenks, Sharyn Tejaim, Daniela Brancaforte, Karolina Walkin, Chuck Kleymeyer, Paul Ferguson, Karen Keyes, Lynzey Danahue—and about 12 others who didn’t sign the sign-in sheet.

The meeting convened at 7:35 pm. (on the heels of the H-B Chamber Singers concert, which was just winding up.)

Principal’s Report: Casey Robinson

Our chamber singers are being honored this Friday as the choir selected to sing at the state music educator’s conference.

In the last month, we’ve had lots of great events: concerts, the middle school play, and a very successful Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction which was a huge fundraiser for the Music Department. A successful fall formal was held last Tuesday, Nov. 10th.  The 6th-graders had a great trip to Hemlock last week as a team building exercise; an Ellis Island simulation with the 7th graders happened the same day. “Every day there is something meaningful and powerful going on,” Casey said. First quarter report cards will be out by the end of the week.

There was a successful professional learning day early in November, with good acclimation of the new staff members.  The various poultry bowls are coming up on November 24th: the Chicken Bowl and Turkey Bowl, which are big community events. The Stratford Program will be participating as well—their addition is an improvement in terms of building community.

Parent question: Is there discussion happening around reversing the schedule change?

Casey: There was an extended town meeting this morning on this. Some are eager to reverse it, others to keep it the way it is. The ultimate decision at today’s Town Meeting was to go away and think until the next Town Meeting in a couple of weeks. There seems to be strong feelings on both sides, and Casey suspects the vote will be a close one if and when it comes.

Parent question: What do they not like about the new schedule?

Casey: Change…..We have found from a faculty standpoint that the TA period is being used much more effectively on a Monday than on a Friday at 3 pm….So, many of us are actively interested in continuing to try this for this year.


Update on the Stratford renovation project: Laura Saul Edwards, PAC Co-Chair and member of the Building Level Planning Committee (BLPC) for the Stratford site (i.e. the Vacation Lane site)

The School Board voted last night on the concept design for the Vacation Lane building, H-B’s current home. They decided by a vote of 3-2 that this building will become a 1,000- seat neighborhood middle school …Between $31-36 million will be allotted for the project, though the School Board urged its staff to strive to keep it on the lower end. The current building, with renovations, could house roughly 835 students….The addition [to add capacity up to 1000 students] would be put on the west side of the school, facing the park.

There are some historic preservation issues involved with the site….so the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB)…are on board with this. There is $250,000 that will be set aside specifically for working with the HALRB [to create the physical pieces that will] actually let people know that this is a historic site and why.

On another subject, it’s anticipated that there will be more auto and pedestrian traffic here…APS and the School Board have approved the possibility of a driveway that connects Vacation Lane to Old Dominion, with most car traffic along the lower end of Vacation Lane, and the busses at the top. ….

We are concerned about the sequencing of the construction because H-B will be in session during the construction…In early 2017, they will come over here and break ground. …They would like to sequence it if at all possible so that the Stratford program students, because they are so vulnerable, will only be moved once, with [the rest of] us.

Parent question: Did you get a sense of how much demolition will take place in the H-B (as opposed to the Stratford) part of this building?

Laura: Not much [apparently].

Parent question: How much was initially allotted for the construction at this site?

Laura: Originally the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) said $29.6 million. That has been adjusted. Back in August with the original design, we were up near almost $50 million. The $31 million now is back close to what it’s going to cost, but there is a $5 million buffer.  The School Board urged staff to keep to $31 million in a resolution read last night by SB member Nancy Van Doren.


Update on the new H-B building at Rosslyn: Kristen Colston, PAC Capacity Committee Chair, and member of the BLPC for the Rosslyn building

Kristen: The building where we are going to be moving is in flux as far as what the School Board is going to do about it. The BLPC — the committee of people designing the building — and the Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) all recommended that the School Board approve a $93.8 million, 670,000 square feet facility.  The APS superintendent suggested 146,000 square feet and $80.2 million [maximum]….As a BLPC we are pretty sure this would not work. So the thing we need to do now is to lobby the School Board to try to get more than the $80.2 million, preferably the $93.8 million.

The School Board meeting where the decision is going to be made is on December 3.  To get real-time updates on how you can help, like “Love HB” on Facebook.  If you are interested in speaking to the School Board, going to their office hours or helping in any way, email Kristen, (, Laura ( or David. (

Parent question: What was the square footage on the superintendent’s proposal?

Kristen: 146,000 square feet. By comparison, the current H-B  building is 140,000 square feet, not counting the trailers. However, at the Rosslyn site we will have 10% more students than we currently do: therefore we would have less square footage per student and the Stratford program would have drastically reduced square footage: almost 30 square feet less per Stratford program student. And they are already overcrowded.

In the School Board vote last night, the current building gained an additional 30,000 square feet in order to expand it to a middle school for 1,000 students.

Casey: there are economies of scale. Therefore, small programs cost more relative to schools with larger student bodies. At the Rosslyn site, the underground parking alone costs $9 million because of the small footprint and the urban location.


Guest Speaker: Michael Swisher, parent of an H-B 10th grader, and staff member at the Arlington Partnership on Children, Youth and Families on: “What your teen won’t tell you: Maintaining and improving communication with your son or daughter.”

Michael, who has been a staffer at APCYF for three years, gave a terrific presentation full of tips for talking with our teens.

The meeting adjourned at 9 pm.