In response to the growth and development of the Southeast/Navy Yard neighborhood, this former surplus school building which was being utilized as administrative space was reverted into a 21st century educational environment.

A 1956 urban school had been adapted for office spaces to serve the District of Columbia Public Schools and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education until the spring of 2015. Under this phased modernization, the facility was developed into a new 50,000-square-foot, three-story elementary school that provides early childhood education spaces as well as kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms.


  • Phased modernization of urban public school
  • Creation of high-performance learning environments
  • 50,000 sf educational facility
  • Design-build, fast-track delivery


The entire existing building was transformed with a new interior layout that features a variety of flexible classroom spaces with high-performance environments for multiple modes of teaching. On the first level the double-loaded corridor configuration was adapted to accommodate pre-K classrooms with access to wide perimeter hallways that are filled with natural light. This supports the larger size required for this program as well as ease for drop-off and pick-up.


This ambitious project is quite unique. It creates a completely new community school for a burgeoning neighborhood that is literally developing around it with a variety of housing and mixed use buildings. The existing building was expanded vertically with an addition above the multi-function gymnasium/auditorium and cafeteria wing to house a new media center, as well as art and music classrooms. Here, large expanses of windows provide views to the surrounding Navy Yard and glimpses of the Anacostia River beyond.

"[The] renovations are beautiful. The educators, students, and families love the spaces. Van Ness truly is a wonderful place for children to explore and learn."

Meredeth Fascett, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner of DC's Capitol Riverfront Neighborhood


Strong way finding graphics are a core component of this engaging environment and reinforce a sense of identity for the nurturing school community. As a means for wayfinding, the graphics feature iconic Washington, DC sites and places such as the Martin Luther King Memorial and nearby Eastern Market. An engaging outdoor environment features a playground and large green space surrounded by native plantings and encourage connections to the environment.