Nottingham Elementary Bigger, But Still Not Big Enough


(Thursday, August 30, 2007 5:57 PM EDT)

A 22,000-square-foot addition to Nottingham Elementary School hasn't been enough to keep pace with enrollment. Two classroom trailers recently were installed in front of the elementary school in an effort to keep up.

“When we opened the new school, we had a lot of interest from the neighborhood, and we had more enrollment than expected,” said Alison Denton, a facilities planner for Arlington Public Schools.

School officials are projecting that 448 students are enrolled at Nottingham this year, up from 432 last fall and from 369 in 2005. Each trailer will hold approximately 20 students.

The $12.1 million school expansion features an administrative suite, multi-purpose room, kitchen, art and music classrooms, five additional classrooms and two playgrounds. The project also renovated 21 classrooms, along with the media center, computer lab, staff lounge and other facilities.

School officials say they do not have plans to further expand the school, but are taking steps to address crowding issues.

“We're actually in a boundary process. We know we have crowding in that part of the county,” Denton said. “We hope to better match enrollment and capacity, and hopefully [the trailers] aren't there very long.”

Although there has been some complaint raised in the community - people wondering if there were oversights in the expansion plans - school officials say they don't see the trailers as a completely negative thing.

“It's a beautiful new building and we're proud of it, and we think it's attracted people. It's a good problem to have,” Denton said. “But in some senses it puts us in a bind . . . We certainly don't like to put relocatables in front of a building that just reopened. We're looking forward to a solution.”

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