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Arlington Outdoor Education Center

This 3,700 SF outdoor laboratory includes a large multi-purpose space that accommodates Arlington County Public School students for welcome receptions, teaching lessons, interpretive displays, and indoor programming. In addition, the education center includes an animal laboratory, computer facilities, storage for equipment and supplies, and a woodworking shop.

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Arlington Outdoor Education Center

Broad Run, VA

At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 3,700 SF Outdoor Laboratory offers Arlington County Public Schools’ students hands-on natural science and environmental educational experiences through daily class excursions and week-long summer enrichment programs. Previously the site was home to a classroom building, which dates back to the property’s purchase in 1967 and was adapted to meet the program’s needs over time. It did not, however, have adequate space and did not function to accommodate the number of students (over 9,000 per year) the program hosted.

The work performed by Gauthier, Alvarado & Associates provided AOEA with a new Learning Laboratory environment of lasting aesthetic and educational value. Recognizing AOEA’s main directive to preserve and protect the property and its resources, work was guided by principles of sustainable design and preservation of the natural setting. Protection of the trees, shrubbery and other indigenous plantings on the site was a priority of the planning process. Planning for the building considered its connection with the land on which it sits and directly responds to its setting; it achieved a LEED Silver recognition.

The initial program for the new laboratory included a large space to accommodate up to 75 students – for welcome receptions, teaching lessons, interpretive displays, and foul weather programs; an animal laboratory accommodating care and storage; computer facilities; storage for equipment and supplies, and woodworking shop.

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Gauthier, Alvarado & Associates
10201 Fairfax Boulevard, Suite 225,
Fairfax, VA 22030
TEL: 703.241.2202

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