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IPS Unveils Improvement Plan at Arlington Middle School

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) officials unveiled today how Arlington Middle School will be transformed into a state-of-the-art STEM school as part of the district’s Rebuilding Stronger Plan.

Led by IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson, William Murphy, the district’s chief operations officer, and Arlington Principal Iesha Billups, with business and city leaders in attendance, members of the media toured Arlington Middle School to learn about the upcoming changes. 

Starting in the 2024–25 school year, Arlington will be the new location for one of our middle school STEM programs. The school will educate students in Grades 6–8. 

“We are proposing a complete reinvention of the Arlington facility,” said Dr. Johnson. “Along with constructing a new addition for classroom space and a complete renovation of the interior, we will rightsize the facility by demolishing unused and unrenovated space.”

About $66 million has been allocated to the project, with the completion scheduled for 2026. The school will continue operating while under construction.

During the tour of Arlington, Murphy noted that the school will see a comprehensive set of upgrades to the facility to make it more vibrant. 

The renovations will be extensive and will include removing part of the existing building to accommodate appropriately located parking and constructing a new 81,000-square foot classroom wing. Specific updates and additions include:

  • A new family resource center.
  • A new media center.
  • Utilities upgrades and site work. 
  • Addressing building deficiencies such as the roof, interior lighting, fire alarm, cameras, and security system.
  • Improving athletic offerings through softball and baseball field improvements, field lighting, and rebuilding the tennis courts. 

Murphy said the district also will provide additional support with investments, including the school’s VoIP phone system and intercom system, via the 2018 Safety and Security Referendum.

“This is one example of what Rebuilding Stronger will do for our families,” said Dr. Johnson. “Rebuilding Stronger is IPS’ commitment to ensure there are excellent choices open to every single one of our students, in every school, in every neighborhood. We’ve spent almost two years engaging with our stakeholders on what matters to them most when it comes to education — from academics to facilities to extracurriculars.”

Arlington is one of 20-plus schools scheduled to receive facility upgrades and renovations through the district’s 2023 Capital Referendum

Johnson noted the 2023 Capital Referendum, which voters in the district will consider on May 2, will allow IPS to bring all its elementary and middle school buildings from “poor” to “good” status — meaning they are only in need of routine maintenance moving forward — over the next eight years. A facilities study of IPS buildings indicates that more than 30 percent of its schools are rated in “poor” condition. 

“Rebuilding Stronger is the roadmap to build on and expand what works at IPS — while also tackling some of the biggest challenges we face,” said Dr. Johnson. “With this plan, we can deliver more great schools, more excellent offerings, and more equitable access.”

The district’s 2023 Capital Referendum is a $410 million ask of residents living in the IPS boundary. For the median homeowner, that’s a $3 a month tax increase on their current property tax bill.

The capital referendum, which voters in our district will consider on May 2, is also on absentee and early voting ballots.