Park View School to be Modernized, No New Building for Bruce-Monroe
In a meeting at the Wilson Building late on Friday afternoon (5/20/11), Deputy Mayor for Education De’Shawn Wright announced that the District would be moving forward with the modernization of the Park View School and had no plans to build a new school on the Bruce-Monroe site, which will continue being used as a community park for the immediate future.
Deputy Mayor Wright began the meeting by briefly recapping the events that lead to the present public school situation in Park View. He acknowledged the frustration of the communities impacted by these events and clearly stated that the purpose of the meeting was to map the path forward. As learned in the meeting, one factor in the decision to move forward with the Park View modernization was the District’s inability to secure the public/private partnership for the redevelopment of the Bruce-Monroe site that would have financed a new school building. Other factors included the investment of $3.3M in the Park View School that has already occurred since 2008 and the solid condition of the school’s overall structure. It was also noted that the basic design of Park View is good and that the District would not be able to achieve the same results with a new building for the same money.
Even with the improvements already made at Park View, Deputy Mayor Wright made it clear that the school does not currently live up to the standards that parents, teachers, and the community should expect. Nor does Park View currently provide an ideal learning environment.
Deputy Mayor Wright then asked Mel Butler of the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM) to explain the next steps in modernizing the school. Butler began by giving details on the $3.3M already invested at Park View.
The $3.3M was broken down thusly:
To add some clarity to these categories, HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning; Life Safety includes fire doors or any improvements that make the school a healthier and safer place to learn and teach; and general improvements would be everything else. The large general expenditure in 2008 includes the renovated plaza in front of the school which was required to keep the boiler room (underneath the plaza) dry and functional.
Moving forward, Mr. Butler described a three phase modernization of Park View. The first phase would commence in 2012 with a $5.5M investment that would focus on a complete modernizing of the classrooms. A typical Phase 1 includes installation of new lighting fixtures, repair & replacement of window panes, repair or replacement of in-classroom heating and ventilation equipment, installation of new ceilings, flooring, and audio amplification, and new data connections and audio-visual equipment to support on-line learning resources. It also includes installation of adaptable and flexible furniture systems. This work would occur during the summer months of 2012 and be completed before school resumes in the fall.
The second phase, according to Butler, would likely be around 2016 and renovate the common areas of the school. He did not have a date for the third phase, which would replace systems, mechanical, roofing, and electrical (The 2010 DCPS master facilities plan (p. 15) has the following schedule for Park View: Phase 1, 2012; Phase 2, 2016; Phase 3, 2018).
Councilmember Jim Graham, also in attendance, expressed the urgent need for an accelerated modernization. While the likelihood of increasing the FY2012 funds for the modernization is unlikely, he stated that additional funds need to be dedicated to keeping the modernization process going in 2013 rather than 2016. Graham also noted that there are three fewer public schools in Ward 1 than there were a few years ago and indicated that the funds that once supported them should now be used to quicken the pace with this project.
Representatives of the school community were also present and requested that the cafeteria be given a high priority as well. In the phased approach it would not be modernized until 2016. However, they have genuine concerns related to the health of their students and the cleanliness and safe storage of the food served at Park View. They also expressed concerns that some of the illnesses that children and teachers come down with may be connected to the schools current state. It was agreed upon by those at the meeting that immediate steps would be taken to provide secure and safe storage of food and send in a health team to evaluate and respond to health concerns. CM Graham also supported giving the cafeteria a high priority in the renovation schedule.
Moving forward a School Improvement Team (SIT) will be established to participate in the development of the education specification and schematic design. A SIT is generally chaired by the school principal, though meetings are coordinated and facilitated by OPEFM. The committee generally includes teachers, school staff, parents, neighborhood organization representatives, students, and a representative of the Chancellor’s office. Committees generally number between 10 and 15 people.
In addition to members of the Deputy Mayor for Education’s office, Councilmember Graham, and OPEFM, the meeting included representatives from DCPS, The office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), parents, teachers, residents, Darren Jones of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association, and Kent Boese, Commissioner for ANC 1A08.Children, Development, Schools comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.