Updated: June 20, 2018 at 3:52 p.m.
A project that will repurpose a historic West End school and construct an adjacent office building began Monday.
Developers broke ground on a project to reopen the former Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School into a daycare and D.C. Public Schools preschool by 2020, according to a release. An office building next door, at 2100 L St. NW, will also be constructed as part of the project.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said D.C. has suffered from a shortage of available childcare options for children before they enter the school system and a lack of space for public schools.
“There are a few things that will prevent our continued growth and prosperity,” Bowser said at the development kickoff event Monday. “One of those things is young families not being able to find quality, affordable childcare that they can trust.”
A “community-based” group will run the daycare for children 3 years old and younger, and the preschool will educate 3- and 4-year-olds, according to the release.
Eve Zhurbinskiy, a former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and alumna, said in a tweet Monday the renovation is a “win” for Foggy Bottom and D.C. children.
This is a huge win for the Foggy Bottom community + children across all eight awards. A free childcare for toddlers + more elementary school capacity. All in a historic school that was built by freedmen. It truly wouldn't have happened w/out a decade of tireless work from @ANC2A. https://t.co/No2GNTI0Iw
— Eve Zhurbinskiy (@ezhurb) June 18, 2018
Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School opened in 1868 and was the first public school in D.C. for black children. The school, which is now listed as a historic landmark by the National Register of Historic Places, closed in 2008 and has sat vacant for nearly a decade since closing.
Ivymount, a private school company that operates schools for children with learning and intellectual disabilities, was scheduled to move into the building, but scrapped the plan after DCPS pulled funding from the project last May.
Officials then announced plans to reopen the school as an extension of the School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens in August.
The project’s developers include commercial real estate firms Akridge and Argos Group and real estate investment group Corporate Office Properties Trust, according to a release from the companies.
The area adjacent to the school will be a 190,000 square foot office space with floor to ceiling glass windows, a rooftop terrace and penthouse conference center, according to the release. The new office building will also host a rotating art gallery showcasing black artists and will honor the former school’s namesake with a statue of Thaddeus Stevens and a “feature wall.”
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the office building at 2100 L St. NW would be renovated. The building is a new construction project. We regret this error.