by Adam Tope
ANC 3F Commissioner
If you have been over to the fabulous Hearst Recreation Center, you have probably noticed the historic Hearst Elementary School sitting right beside it. Over the next year, Hearst Elementary School will be undergoing a significant transformation as the current historic building is renovated and a new building is built next to it.
For the past several months, members of the School Improvement Team (“SIT”), made up of teachers, neighbors and other community members, have been meeting to discuss the renovations and have been providing DCPS with input on the planned renovation of the building. The renovations are a welcome change since the current building is in need of drastic repair. It has no cafeteria, no gym facility and has antiquated bathrooms and other facilities.
With the upcoming renovations, major changes will arrive, including a new cafeteria, a multi-purpose area which can be used as a gym or dining area, a science room, a music room, outdoor green space and more. The current plans call for all of the construction to be built at a LEED Silver level, but the architects are trying to build the building to LEED Gold if the budget permits. The overall goal of the renovation is to allow the school to properly house its 310 students in a modern facility, without the temporary trailers that current sit in front of the school. The expansion will also add a Pre-K class.
As with many significant plans in our neighborhood, the plans are not without controversy. The Hearst plans as currently drafted include the addition of a loading dock, driveway and parking off of Idaho Ave. NW. This plan has met strong opposition from neighbors and has been opposed by ANC 3F. An additional area of concern is the protection of the heritage trees surrounding Hearst. Because of the increased footprint with the new buildings, there is concern that the trees will be hurt. Conversation remains open with DCPS in considering the views of the ANC and neighbors on these two issues.
Construction is planned to begin later this year with major construction slated for the summer when school is out. It will be exciting to see what Hearst will look like in a year.
Click here to download a PDF file with more information about the plans.