(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today celebrated the transformation of the old Woodrow Wilson High School into a 21st-century, high-tech campus. Along with students and staff from Wilson, Mayor Gray was joined by representatives from the Office of the City Administrator (OCA) and the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM).
“The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Woodrow Wilson High School is a shining example of how the District of Columbia can transform a historic campus into a first-class facility with an extraordinary design and state-of-the-art technology,” Mayor Gray said. “Wilson’s new academic, visual-arts, performing-arts and athletic facilities create an exciting 21st-century campus for learning.”
Built in 1935, the Wilson campus is composed of four connected buildings – the auditorium, academic core, media center and gymnasium, plus the adjoining recently constructed new Department of Parks and Recreation Aquatic Center. The connections between the building components – which are at multiple levels – presented numerous accessibility issues. The historic building was largely non-compliant with Americans With Disabilities Act regulations.
“What made Wilson an exciting project was the fact that this modernization involved the renovation and adaptive reuse of all of the existing landmarked structures through a complete renovation of all existing program space and the conversion of substantially underutilized existing space into program or support space,” said City Administrator Allen Y. Lew, who previously served as Executive Director of OPEFM. “The next step was to then take the existing Wilson and strategically insert new construction to take the campus to the next level.”
Design features in the new Wilson High School include:
• Transformation of the courtyard space of the academic building into a dynamic new central Crossroads Courtyard atrium space below a dramatic skylight roof supported by tree columns.
• Reorganization and concentration of program elements that previously were disconnected and spread around the campus into three major venues – the Academic, Athletic, and Visual and Performing Arts Centers, all independently operational.
• A new cafeteria (with full kitchen) that opens to an outdoor eating terrace in the restored Rose Garden, as well as dining in the Crossroads Courtyard.
• Two new gymnasium facilities strategically placed next to the recently completed Aquatic Center, with access to the stadium and full locker-room suites and fitness room.
• Exciting new Visual and Performing Arts Center including a Black Box Theater, an expanded wing for band and music rooms, and an 850-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium.
“Our goal in modernizing public schools in the District of Columbia is not only to transform classrooms and campuses across the District to provide students with facilities that can positively impact student achievement,” said Ollie Harper, Jr., Acting Executive Director of OPEFM. “Our goal is also to transform schools into state-of-the-art campuses that can serve teachers, staff, students and their communities.”
The Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM) was created by the historic D.C. Education Reform Act of 2007 to undertake the construction and modernization of DC Public Schools (DCPS) facilities and other large-scale capital projects. The office also manages all non-custodial maintenance for the school system.
For more information about OPEFM and the school facility modernization program, visit