Progress on Little Falls Road

In 2013, Bishop O’Connell undertook a comprehensive study to develop a master plan to align the physical facilities with the school’s mission-driven strategic plan. The project evolved from the need to address functional, organization and space deficiencies of a school that was originally designed more than 60 years ago in the co-institutional model of single-sex classrooms. Boys and girls entered the school through separate entrances that faced Trinidad and Underwood Streets. The “boys side” and “girls side” shared a central courtyard, cafeteria, and library that connected the two halves. 

With the help of Maginniss + del Ninno Architects, an eight-phase Master Site Plan was developed to guide the process of modernizing the school’s facilities. The plan provides a sequenced phased approach to addressing the evolving space requirements of curricula and the need for flexible learning and teaching spaces that meet today's educational landscape. 

Project Updates

Select the date tab below to view photos and updates from previous weeks.

Oct. 24, 2019

Plaza Walls - Oct. 24

Stone cladding of plaza walls is wrapping up.

Plaza Seating Oct. 24

Perimeter seating in the plaza area is taking shape.

Concrete Seating Area- Oct. 24

 A closer view of the concrete seating taking shape.

Curtain Wall - Oct. 24

Curtain wall is going up on the new main corridor.

Windows are being installed in the new main corridor.

Oct. 4, 2019

Plaza Stone - Oct. 4

The stone work in the front plaza is nearing completion. It beautifully matches the walls of our original building, and will tie in with our future chapel facade.

Parking Lot Restriping

The junior lot near the corner of Little Falls Road and Underwood Street has a new exit that directs cars into the main driveway near the new plaza. This exit allows us to make this parking lot one-way. This week the lot was restriped with angled spots, making it easier to navigate and less likely to have fender benders among our new drivers. Crosswalks on the main driveway are next.

Window Frames Oct. 4

The metal frames for the glass that will make up the walls of the new main corridor are going up.


The first floor of the new main corridor is looking more like a hallway. Prep work for HVAC can be seen.


Window frames for the new main corridor are staged in the courtyard. The plywood is protecting the new courtyard surface.

Sept. 20, 2019

Front Plaza

Plaza Wall

Out front, most of the retaining walls have been faced with stone, and the part that is not faced, nearest to Little Falls Road, will be a tiered seating area wrapping all the way to the end.  Part of the seating area will be covered with a pergola to provide some shade and definition.  The Holy Family statue, which stood in front of the flagpole before construction began, will be re-installed at the end of the wall.
The front plaza will be concrete with brick inlays and have two pedestrian exits with crosswalks across the drop off lanes to lead to the new main entrance. Between the plaza and the handicapped parking will be a level and lightly landscaped area that disguises a run-off retention system. Underneath the surface will be filter material to make sure rainwater run-off does no damage to the cleanliness of the Potomac watershed. The front plaza will be concrete with brick inlays and have two exits with crosswalks across the drop off lanes to the main entrance.


Small front lot near Underwood St. and Little Falls Road - We will be re-striping this lot with angled spaces only. Because of the newly created exit near the plaza, this lot will be one-way only and the new angled spaces will make the parking process easier.
Senior parking lot (closest to the baseball field) – There was a lot of digging in this area over the summer that included a required underground water retention system, as well as buried cables for the infrastructure of the new building. The surface has had initial repaving, and there will be temporary re-striping and added crosswalks to get us through the construction of the new academic building and chapel at the site of the former IHM convent.



Most of the concrete work has been completed inside the courtyard. There will be a new additional access point into the courtyard directly from the cafeteria. The new door for this will go in later this fall, along with a lot of landscaping in the new planting beds around the courtyard's perimeter. The steps into the courtyard from the cafeteria and the new first floor corridor will take shape next week. The statue of Our Lady of Grace will find her new home in the courtyard just a few feet from where she has been since 1957. Don't be confused by the plywood that currently covers much of the surface of the courtyard; it is there to protect the concrete as the rest of the project catches up.  When completed, the courtyard will have ten new picnic tables ready for senior lunches and social gatherings.

New Connecting Corridors


The concrete floor for the second level of the new connecting corridor that runs across the courtyard was poured this week. The first floor will be poured at the end of next week. Once the second floor corridor between the center hall and the Trinidad St. wing is far enough along, the construction company will move the temporary connecting tunnel from the first floor to the second, and will finish work on the first floor corridor. In the next week or two, we should also start seeing frames for glass walls going up on the front of the building and the first and second floor of the new courtyard corridor. 

Infrastructure Work Inside Trinidad Street Wing

Inside the ground floor of the Trinidad wing, all the infrastructure work for the sprinkler system for the new and old parts of the building are being installed. Eventually all those pipes in the ceiling will disappear above a new suspended ceiling.  

Phase 2 – New Academic Wing and Chapel – Coming Out of the Ground

Construction work for the new academic wing and chapel will begin with excavation for the building’s basement. This will commence once the Phase 1 construction projects no longer require moving large equipment down the temporary road to the courtyard.  

Safety and Compliance

The construction company, the architect and our O’Connell team are in regular contact with the Arlington County building and safety offices to ensure that we are in compliance or exceeding required codes. 

Sept. 7, 2019

Front Entrance

Progress continues on front entrance and lobby area. Note the elevator shaft in back left corner.


Courtyard paving now complete.

Front Plaza stonework

Stonework continues on the front plaza.

August 29, 2019

Green Infrastructure

Area for bio-retention (green infrastructure)


Two-story space in common/connector


Final grading of courtyard prior to paving

Elevator Shaft

Elevator shaft nearing completion

Temporary walkway

Temporary walkway to Trinidad-side classroom wing nearing completion

August 23, 2019

Front Entrance Steel Framing

Steel framing installation in process at front entrance and commons.

Steel Framing for Connector

Steel framing in place for connector/commons.

Stone Facing

Stone facing installation in progress on front plaza walls.

Courtyard ready for paving.

Courtyard ready for concrete paving.

Aug. 16, 2019

Curbs and Parking - Aug. 16

Curbs formed, ready for concrete, for extended parking and exit to main driveway.


Plaza retaining walls nearing completion, and ready for stone facing.

Stone for Plaza Walls - Aug16

Stone facing for plaza walls delivered and ready for installation. 

Entrance Foundations - Aug. 16

Concrete foundations for front entrance and connector nearing completion.

Steel - Aug. 16

First shipment of steel ready for installation.

August 2, 2019

Courtyard - Aug 2

The renovation of the courtyard is taking shape--ready for new steps, ramps and patio surface.

Front Plaza - Aug 2

The new front plaza is graded and a new storm water system is in place. The footings for the new plaza walls are formed and ready for concrete.

StormWater Storage - Aug 2

A new storm water management system with more than 5,000 cubic feet of underground storage capacity has been competed, and the area is ready for repaving.

Electrical Conduit Installation

Underground electrical conduits are installed. These will connect to a new transformer and upgrade the electrical system for the entire school.