Walter Reed Elementary

Arlington, Virginia

Walter Reed Elementary School is scheduled to open in September 2021 as CMTA’s third net-zero school in Arlington, Virginia.  This project is setting new standards for design excellence in sustainability, energy performance, and innovative learning environments for Arlington Public Schools. This new school requires less maintenance, provides healthier air quality, and increases occupant productivity, all while saving Arlington Public Schools substantial amounts of money in operating costs.

Building on energy performance innovations and user feedback from Discovery Elementary and Alice West Fleet Elementary, Walter Reed Elementary will keep raising the bar for students, teachers, and the community who know firsthand how past, proven projects have revolutionized the entire school district – not only with award-winning learning spaces, but also with net-zero design that provides Arlington Public Schools with $117,000 of annual utility cost savings in comparison to a typical district school. The energy consumption will be offset by a 540kW solar array located on the roof of the new school, making Walter Reed a Net-Zero Energy facility.

Walter Reed Elementary follows the precedent of a previous four-story, elementary school established by Alice West Fleet Elementary (APS). The school reflects the often-repeated desire among Arlington residents to “build up and not out” as part of the vibrant Westover community. The design of Walter Reed ensures that the building appropriately blends in with the neighborhood context with sensitive site design and that it will give back to the community in energy savings and improved, public spaces.

The design includes a variety of learning spaces that articulate the positive relationships between new pedagogic methods, community engagement, modern architecture, and educational landscape strategies that promote health, well-being, and collaboration. The connection between spaces inside and outside occur in a variety of ways to involve and activate sensory responses. Universal design and sustainability are hallmarks of Walter Reed. The design creates a school that students can’t wait to get to in the morning and don’t want to leave in the afternoon.

This 111,000 square foot school will generate significant energy savings through the use of multiple strategies, including:  optimum solar orientation, a tight building envelope, appropriate use of glazing, occupancy sensors and high-performance geothermal HVAC systems. Small, individual heat pump units will provide the proper amount of conditioned air only when and where it’s needed. Air is conditioned by exchanging heat with the ground via seventy-two, 560-foot-deep wells underneath various areas on the site.