Walls students long for GW

As they wait for renovations on their dilapidated classrooms to begin, School Without Walls students said they prefer their old school in Foggy Bottom to their modernized temporary location and are anxious to return.

“We don’t have to worry about bricks falling from the roof here at Logan, but I still wish I was spending my last year at our school,” said 17-year-old senior Sara Tharakan, referring to The Logan School in Northeast D.C.

The School Without Walls, which is housed in the brick building on G Street, was relocated to the Logan School at the start of this academic year so renovations to their Foggy Bottom building could begin.

Though construction is not slated to commence until spring 2008, extensive asbestos problems forced the school to relocate its students early.

“The GW campus is our preference,” said assistant principal Sylvia Isaac. “Its location makes it easier to fulfill our ‘city as a classroom’ philosophy.”

The School Without Walls has a longstanding partnership with GW so that their students can utilize GW facilities and take college courses. Richard Trogisch, the principal, said they continue to maintain their partnership with the University.

“Even with our new location, we still have students going to classes,” Trogisch said. “We have buses running between Logan to GW seven times a day.”

The upcoming renovations are part of a citywide effort to improve public schools. Trogisch said when they left the Foggy Bottom building, it was deteriorating rapidly.

“Previous repairs resembled patchwork,” Trogisch said. “We kept hearing it was going to be renovated so the school just got more and more rundown while we waited.”

Some of the more serious issues with the Foggy Bottom location included external damage, limited space and outdated technology

After 12 years of negotiations, the renovations were made possible in 2006 when GW bought the high school’s parking lot for $12 million. GW is building a new residence hall on that property.

“Logan is a palace in comparison,” Trogisch said. “However, we all cannot wait to go back to our renovated 19th century building being upgraded to meet the needs of 21st century students and teachers.”

Trogisch said he is especially excited for new science labs. The addition of an expanded library, a new computer lab and an elevator will make the school handicap accessible.

Tharakan, who took an introductory sociology course at GW last semester, said she and her peers missed the convenience of their original location the most.

“(The Logan School) is a better building but a worse environment,” Tharakan said. “It’s farther away from everything.”

Isaac said upgraded facilities greatly improve the functions of the school and described the renovations as “a long time coming.”

“The facility plays a major role in the learning process whether it be about temperature control or computer access,” Isaac said. “We need to be able to provide students with the best environment for teaching and learning.”

The School Without Walls is expected to reopen for the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year but won’t break ground until late March or early April of 2008.

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