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$80 Million Ellington School Renovation Team Selected

Public meetings will be held in the coming months to discuss designs and plans.

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts is getting an upgrade. Patch file photo.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts is getting an upgrade. Patch file photo.
The District government has selected an architect/engineering team to lead the $80 million redesign and upgrade of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Burleith. 
DC released a request for proposals (RFP) in July 2012.

Though Patch has been unable to locate any announcement regarding the design team's selection, the Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) discussed the initial designs from the winning project team at a monthly meeting last week. The team will hold public meetings in the near future, according to the ANC.

One resident at the ANC meeting expressed her frustration with the lack of information and communication about the renovations. 

"One thing they have not been doing is actually designing the building in secret," said Commissioner Ron Lewis. "They have been doing nothing for the past months and months except interviewing architects."

"It was only within the past couple of weeks that they selected an architect," explained Lewis.

The Department of General Services (DGS), which manages DCPS building projects, wants the end product to be approximately 165,000 square feet. To accomplish this, DGS wants a project that both adds to the existing building and makes changes within it to better utilize space.

Funds for the modernization were part of Mayor Vincent Gray's Fiscal Year 2014 budget. 

During the ANC meeting one commissioner said the designs currently call for an 8000-seat, state of the art theater and below ground parking to accommodate teachers.

Another tidbit of news: the design will not include any expansion to the Ellington Field, which was a concern among some Burleith neighbors. 

One proposed element of the design—a large rooftop deck—raised the ire of neighbors immediately during initial discussions, according to Lewis.

To assuage concerns Lewis said, "They do not have an approved design. What they have are schematics of ideas."

"Those ideas are totally, in my view, up for discussion. So what will end up there in the way of design...is very much something they have said they will consult with the community about."

A meeting is tentatively set for Sept. 23, but that date could change. Patch will provide more details as info becomes available. 

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