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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Announces Contract to Reconstruct Dunbar High School


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(WASHINGTON, DC)— Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced today the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM) has awarded the design/build contract to the Smoot/Gilbane Joint Venture to build the all-new Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School, DC's first high school for African-American students.

“This award is the next step to begin to return Dunbar Senior High School to its days of glory,” Mayor Gray, a Dunbar alumnus, said. “The new Dunbar will be a state-of-the-art, 21st century facility worthy of Dunbar’s notable alumni, including Dr. Charles R. Drew and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.”

The joint venture consists of Smoot Construction Company and the Gilbane Building Company. Smoot/Gilbane is a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE)-led joint venture centered on a 50-year relationship between the two firms with nearly $6 billion in K-12 construction in the past five years. The joint venture has a team of high school builders with local and national expertise and collective knowledge of a K-12 Lessons-Learned database.

“We are confident Smoot/Gilbane Construction will take the new Dunbar to the next educational level,” said City Administrator Allen Y. Lew, who previously served as Executive Director of OPEFM. “We are also pleased that this joint venture is led by a local CBE group, with deep ties to the District of Columbia.”

Smoot Construction, a DC-based construction management firm, has an extensive portfolio of major K-12 construction programs locally and nationally. The Gilbane Building Company is one of the 20 largest national construction management firms and providers of construction management expertise for K-12 clients. The Smoot/Gilbane team has built more than 300 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified projects. They include Platinum, Gold, and Silver-level certifications.

The budget for the modernization of Dunbar High School is $122 million, on par with the budgets used to modernize H.D. Woodson and Woodrow Wilson senior high schools – the two latest high-school renovation projects in the District.

Over the next several months, Smoot/Gilbane will work with the Dunbar project’s architect to advance the building’s design and develop a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) proposal for the new Dunbar. That proposal, in turn, will be submitted to the DC Council in late fall/early winter.

The footprint of the new building is on the southeast corner of the site, allowing Dunbar students and faculty to remain in the existing building until the new high school is completed.

Construction of the new building will begin with the groundbreaking, shortly after Thanksgiving. The construction process is expected to take 20 months, with the new school completed in time for the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year.

Demolition of the existing building will begin in July 2013. Once demolition is complete, construction of the new football field and track will follow and be completed by late fall 2013.