A New Year. A New Space.
A new year in a new space for The Sycamore School! After months of planning, veteran students and staff joined newcomers in our expanded middle and high school space at 1550 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn, just up the hill from the Metro.
Reasons Behind the Move
Why the move? The imminent redevelopment of the hotel-office complex in Ballston that housed the school since it opened in 2017 certainly figured highly. TSS is also growing at a measured pace, making more room in a newer building very attractive. But, finding building space that can accommodate an independent school’s requirements takes work. A school can only occupy lower floors, and the building must be ready to deal with dozens of students coming and going simultaneously. So, TSS had to widen its search beyond Ballston.
Staff and students loved the Ballston area, especially the diverse offerings around the Ballston Quarter Mall. Rosslyn offers many pluses in a newer building that will serve the school for many years. The new TSS lease runs 13 years with options to expand the space as our school grows.
Future Developments in Rosslyn
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District notes that several mixed-use developments are underway or planned nearby, replacing aging buildings with new retail, housing, and other amenities. Overall, several billion dollars will go into reshaping the neighborhood. Six major projects are underway or past the approval stage (all far enough from the school not to impact operations or commuters, but an easy walk to new shops and food outlets).
Convenient Location and Accessibility
Easy access to Metro, a safe and walkable neighborhood, and a safe space for parents to drop off and pick up students were non-negotiable. The 1550 Wilson Boulevard location offers all of the above and several bus lines that run right outside the school. One teacher who has lived in the area for many years is riding the bus for the first time. Some parents have already commuted to jobs in the area or just across the Potomac in downtown DC.
The school is also just up the street from a Target and a Safeway and opposite a CVS, along with numerous food options for our high school students ranging from coffee and sandwiches to full-service restaurants. The Rosslyn Highlands Park and Playground are steps away across Wilson Blvd. The safe below-street-level space near Pierce St. is ideal for students who want to go outside at lunch.
A Look Inside Our New School
Located on the third floor of an office building constructed in 1984, our expanded middle and high school is 40% larger than the Ballston location, with 14,000 square feet for classrooms, offices, and other multipurpose spaces. Most students like the layout, which roughly follows a “P” shape. You can only briefly get lost since you will eventually come back around to all the rooms. Like our Ballston campus, all the rooms are named after Metro stops, with a map outside every door. Some students already noticed how most classrooms are situated along the long hallway in the “P” while admin and multipurpose rooms are in the loop near the front. The broader hallways make it easier for everyone to get by in transition periods.
Safety and Amenities at Our New Campus
Several staff members praised the feeling of safety at the new campus. As the only tenant on the floor with controlled access points front and back, students and staff spend their day in a secure area.
They also like the enormous windows that run the length of most outside-facing rooms, letting in more light and some of the vibe from Wilson Blvd below. The Arlington Fire Department is located across the street from the building’s lobby door in an emergency. There is also a post office in the same block.
Adapting to the New Environment
Anytime you move, it takes time to figure out where to put everything, how to decorate, and all the procedures that go into so many people using a new space for the first time. Pickup and dropoff policies in the garage are evolving, as will parking for evening events. Please bear with us as we work out the kinks and make this the best possible space for TSS. We are excited to start our new chapter here at 1550 Wilson Blvd.
Read more about our move in The Sycamore School is Moving to Rosslyn.