August 30, 2010

A Beaming Day at H.D. Woodson 

Fenty Administration Tops Out and Signs Beam at H.D. Woodson Senior High School

Contact: Jennifer Calloway | (202) 535-1096

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Washington, DC – Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM) Executive Director Allen Lew joined students, alumni, and Ward 7 community members to top out and sign one of the final steel structural beams of H.D. Woodson High School, located at 5500 Eads Street, NE.

“H.D. Woodson is the only high school in Ward 7 but, in reality, is so much more,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “Woodson once was the center of this community and now we are on our way to the realization of the dream of not only rebuilding the structure, but reigniting the spirit of what Woodson meant to the community.”

Woodson first opened its doors in the fall of 1972 occupying an eight-story concrete tower built upon a raised outdoor plaza. Hailed as the Tower of Power, the building served as an academic center and source of community pride for over thirty years. Through the collective efforts of the school community, DC Public Schools (DCPS) and OPEFM, a new H.D. Woodson High School is rising on the site of the former building to serve the needs of Ward 7 students and the surrounding community as they move into the 21st century.

“Woodson is the first totally new building undertaking by OPEFM. We have completed what we think are now some of the finest academic facilities in the region including the School Without Walls and the recently reopened Eastern,” said OPFEM Executive Director Allen Lew. “But, we have taken our time to make sure we got Woodson right; it was not easy. We had to go back to the drawing board to make sure that we developed a building that fit the needs and expectations of the students and this community. When the facility opens next fall, Woodson will be among the very best high schools in America.”

The new building is a three-story structure with a strong central entrance flanked by lower side wings housing major assembly spaces. A sky-lit atrium with dramatic open stairs floods the building’s core with natural light, links each floor level and serves as the primary student access to educational spaces. Projecting glass bays and a soaring roof overhang form the backdrop for an exterior pedestrian plaza and student gathering space. Extensive new site development includes: a football stadium with bleachers, locker rooms, ticketing and concessions buildings as well as tennis courts, a softball field, practice fields and connections to the newly opened Marvin Gaye Park.

The school is specifically designed to support a progressive curriculum based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The two upper floors of the building feature four distinct learning communities, each configured for integrated learning. Each classroom can operate as a collaborative workspace or can be sub-divided into traditionally sized learning units. Supported by an advanced technology infrastructure, each learning community includes an integrated learning suite with laboratories and break-out areas surrounding a forum / gathering space.

Woodson has been designed to achieve LEED Gold certification in accordance with the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Schools rating system criteria. Sustainable and high performance features integrated into the building include over 75 percent of the roof area containing vegetative plantings. Remaining areas contribute to a rainwater harvesting system that stores runoff in cisterns and provides re-cycled gray water to supplement interior plumbing. In addition, the building incorporates high performance glazing and a super-insulated perimeter envelope, daylight harvesting, automated lighting controls, water conserving plumbing fixtures and use of salvaged building materials along with other sustainable design features.

Today’s occasion is the ceremonial construction event known as the “topping-out.” It is the customary signal that all of the steel super-structure is complete. Over the next several months the wall framing will be completed and interior build-out will commence. The school is on budget at $103 million and on schedule for completion in time for the 2011-2012 school year.

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