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Washington-Liberty High School

Arlington, Virginia


Arlington Public Schools


362,000 sf, 1,600 students




New Construction

Arlington County, Virginia’s LEED Gold Washington-Liberty High School is a stellar example of community planning and a model for sustainable building. Centrally located within the county, it serves as an important civic center and cultural asset for the new century.

This Next Generation Learning design replaces the old school through a 3 ½-year, occupied, phased construction process. The new design respects Arlington’s rich, historic, Art Deco tradition, acknowledges its civic role, proclaims its high standards for student accomplishment, and promotes sustainability. Simulating the college experience, teachers are provided personal and work space in collaborative planning centers on each floor.

All major programmatic spaces are organized around a central circulation spine, Main Street. Spaces for informal gathering and discussion are provided to generate the free-flow of academic and social energy. Some of these dynamic spaces throughout the school include a large Library balcony, a plaza/amphitheater outside the Dining Room, the Courtyard, and a Cyber Café.

Green School Plants a Better Future

Washington-Liberty’s environmentally sustainable design, construction and operational practices increase energy efficiency and interior comfort, as well as reducing operation and maintenance costs.  Some of its sustainable features include 8,000 square feet of vegetated roof and fixtures and equipment that reduce water usage by over 40% and energy usage by over 25%.  A Green Education Plan was also developed for students and the community.  

With Grimm + Parker leading the joint public process we were able to develop consensus on the issues while building cooperative momentum in the schematic design process.

Former Director of Design + Construction Services, APS

Closing Thoughts

This project is an exemplary model of community design. Through more than 60 public meetings, the design became what it is, a reflection of Washington-Liberty's academic excellence and importance to the Arlington County community.


Award of Excellence

Design Arlington

Outstanding New School Building Design

Virginia Department of Education (VEFP)

Platinum Level Distinguished Design Award

Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA)

Brick in Architecture Award

Brick Industry Association (BIA)

Citation Award Winner

American Association of School Administrators (AASA) + The Council of Educational Facility Planners (CEFPI)