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Arlington Career Center's future name may not be a fan favorite

Committee recommendation going to School Board is at odds with results of community survey

A committee set up by the Arlington Public Schools has come up with a proposed new name for the Arlington Career Center campus – and is suggesting a variation on a moniker that bombed among respondents to a community survey.

The naming committee, chaired by former School Board member Barbara Kanninen, is recommending “The Pike Campus” as the new name, signifying the facility’s location a block north of Columbia Pike.

The proposal goes to the School Board May 9 for discussion, with a final decision likely later in the month. One of the questions the committee and staff might expect from School Board members is why their proposal diverges so significantly from responses to a school-system-sponsored survey of the community.

In fact, “The Pike Campus” wasn’t even an option presented to the public. But a version of it – “Campus at Columbia Pike” – came in sixth and last in a survey of students, parents, staff and community members, winning just 17 percent of the vote, according to a staff report prepared for the upcoming meeting.

Keeping the current name of Arlington Career Center was supported by 41 percent of respondents, edged out by “Arlington Career & Technical Center” at 42 percent.

“Grace Hopper Academy” finished third with 35 percent and is the naming committee’s backup recommendation. Hopper (1906-92) was an Arlington resident who played key roles in computer development for the U.S. military.

“The Pike Academy” (22%) and “Freedman’s Academy” (20%) scored low but still outperformed “Campus at Columbia Pike.” (The total percentages of the available options add up to more than 100 because respondents were able to make up to three choices.)

Respondents also were asked to describe in a single word what best described the facility. “Center” scored 39 percent, “Academy” 27 percent” and “Campus” 26 percent.