Fenty tours local school

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty arrived on campus last Thursday to honor the transformation of the School Without Walls, a D.C. public high school on G Street that has undergone extensive renovations in the last year.

The mayor took an informational tour of the semi-completed school, which is slated to receive LEED Silver certification, a third-party green building ranking system, upon completion. The $33 million renovation has incorporated environmentally conscious features like water and energy-efficient appliances and has conserved many of the original walls, structure and flooring.

Fenty and several key members of the project, including Allen Lew, director of the D.C. Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization, donned white construction hats and toured the 118-year-old school building and the glass-walled addition which, when complete, will include a library and music room.

“This is great, team,” Fenty said during the tour. “Really, unbelievable.”

The school renovation is one of four major projects occurring around the Foggy Bottom campus this year. Renovations on the Smith Center commenced this year and work at Square 54 and the new F Street residence hall are still ongoing.

“I’m a huge proponent of development and expansion,” Fenty said. “I support what GW is doing in all those regards.”

The high school’s renovations, which are expected to be completed by July 31, kept many of the building’s historical features, like the original brick structure.

“This modernization is on the cutting edge of urban architectural historic preservation done with 21st century amenities,” said Theresa Luther, the senior project manager. “We’re preserving the old while bringing in the new.”

The old school, which is partially connected to the new, gleaming glass-walled building next door, covers 66,000 square feet and will accommodate 440 students. Though the interior is unfinished, Luther said by July there will be 25 classrooms, three science labs, a physics room, a multipurpose room and a rooftop lounge area for students, among other amenities.

Because of the school’s unique location in the heart of GW’s campus, students at the School Without Walls enjoy a special relationship with the University, Luther said. SWOW students are able to use University facilities and take classes on campus. GW students may also use the building for evening classes, though Luther said she was unsure if there would be GWorld access.

The availability of GW facilities will help out those students, said Terry Lynch, a member of the school improvement team.

“We are a school without walls, literally,” Lynch said. “We’re partnering with different groups in the city to expand what we can do.”

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