Archive for the ‘Restoration repair and maintenance’ category

Peek at Park View School Renovations

November 9, 2018

After nearly two and a half years of planning and construction, the recent renovations at the Bruce-Monroe at Park View School are completed with only smaller punch list items left to finish. The scope of work included a new parking lot, a sprinkler system for the school, exterior landscaping, a new gymnasium and a new cafeteria & kitchen.

Last night, I had a chance to see some of the new spaces inside the building following the final School Improvement Team meeting. Below are some photos of the new gym, cafeteria, and kitchen.

Sustained Advocacy Results in More Trees for Park View School Project

October 3, 2018

I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to get 10-13 new trees added to the landscaping plans for the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School project. But it took a lot of doggedness and refusing to take no for an answer for nearly a month.

While one would think that the landscaping plans would have been discussed at a School Improvement Team (SIT) meeting, of which I’m a member, they really weren’t. Furthermore, it has been a few months since the last SIT has met. This is an area that I’m extremely interested in as the school grounds have long been on my list of places where we could potentially get large shade trees to help address the tree desert in the middle of the neighborhood.

Site plan of the school showing location of new bioretention areas to be added at Bruce-Monroe @ Park View.

I was surprised when I inspected the school grounds in late August that bioretention areas were being added to the grounds at the front of the building, prompting me to request a copy of the landscaping plans on August 30th. After four requests, a copy of the plan set was finally shared with me on September 6th. A quick review of the plans showed that no trees were being added in the front of the building.

Immediately upon seeing the lack of trees on the site, I contacted the construction team, and later the DCPS project team, and asked about adding trees to the landscaping plan. The initial feedback I received was that trees would interfere with the bioretention areas, and that the bioretention areas were required by the Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE).

Refusing to give up, I also contacted DDOT’s Urban Forestry Administration and requested a site visit. I also had a long conversation with DOEE which informed me that green infrastructure elements are required, but that bioretention areas were one of four ways that a project could meet that requirement. Another way was to plant trees, and that in many ways DOEE has a preference for trees but leaves the selection of which way to go to the project team.

Armed with this knowledge, I shared with DCPS that trees were an option and that if push came to shove trees would be the better choice on Warder Street.

Following DDOT’s site visit to the school, and after nearly a month of dedicated oversight, I was finally informed on September 21st that both the Warder and Newton Place sides of the building could accommodate trees without disturbing the bioretention areas already planned. This will include three trees on Warder Street and one on Newton that will mature between 60′ and 70′, helping expand the tree canopy. See the illustrations below for approximate locations and suggested species.

The illustration below also helps provide an idea of what each of the recommended trees will look like when mature.

Construction at Park View School Could Create Opportunity for More Trees

August 23, 2018

The current construction at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View school is still going strong, and while most of the results will primarily benefit the students and teachers at the school, I think there is an opportunity to create a significant benefit for the entire community. I’ve noticed that the majority of the grounds in the front of the building have removed the landscaping from the Warder Street side of the property. When it is time to replant those areas, we need to include new trees that will mature to provide shade for that block. A few years back the law was changed to allow DDOT’s urban forestry administration to also plant on public property like schools and recreation centers. Based on my quick review, we should be seeking to get an additional 3-4 trees on this block.

I’ve already reached out to both DDOT and the construction crew to begin this conversation.

(The frontage of the Park View School is currently being used to support the construction at the school. New landscaping can and should accommodate new shade trees.)

Several Area Streets to be Repaved in 2018

July 26, 2018

While we are over halfway through 2018 and haven’t seen any significant street improvements in the neighborhood, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have several that are still planned for calendar 2018. These include Quebec Place from Park Place to Georgia, Newton Place from Park Place to Warder, and Columbia Road from Warder to Georgia AND from 13th Street to 16th Street. You can see these areas on the map below as well as review the status of all current DDOT alley and street paving projects at the DDOT Paving Plan Web site.

I’m particularly please by the inclusion of Columbia Road in the 2018 plan, as ANC1A supported other community efforts by unanimously passing a resolution asking for Columbia Road to be repaved in September 2017. The resolution was introduced by Commissioner Boese and co-sponsored by Commissioners Wade, Brown, and Rybarczyk.

All of the streets in the 2018 plan are still expected to be completed this calendar year. However, weather like the rain we’ve been having recently and any unexpected delays on other streets can put DDOT’s teams behind schedule. A good indicator for those living on the streets listed above about pending work will be the advanced posting of No Parking signs for the construction, which will give neighbors a heads up that the construction will begin soon.

(Streets shown in red are scheduled to be repaved in 2018, though work has not yet begun)

Historic Preservation Review Board Approves Restoration Plans for Hebrew Home on Spring Road

January 26, 2018

At the January 25, 2018, Historic Preservation Review Board hearing, the Board approved the preservation plan for the renovation of the historic Hebrew Home building at 1125 Spring Road. The case was approved as part of the Board’s consent agenda. The hearing only focused on the overall plan for the historic structure, and not the proposed development east of the property as it does not encroach upon the historic site.

Site plan showing location of non-historic structures to be removed during renovations.

The renovation plan focused on exterior modifications. The primary exterior modifications include complete replacement of existing (non-historic) windows and doors. Aluminum-clad wood windows with simulated divided lights are proposed. The development team consulted historic photographs in order to propose new windows that match the original windows as closely as possible with respect to operation and lite patterns.

Restoration of the existing exterior masonry is also planned as part of the renovation. This will include cleaning and repair/repointing of the brick as necessary. As part of the renovation, a limited number of selective reductions of non-historic exterior elements is proposed including removal of a one-story brick shed on the west side, a one-story open carport structure on the north side, an existing two-story free-standing utility building on the north side and a one-story walkway canopy connecting to the existing adjacent Robeson School building to the east.
Two small additions were also proposed and approved. A one-story addition on the first floor within the existing interior courtyard (and not visible from the exterior) which will provide a multi-use amenity space for residents and a one-story addition on the fifth floor which will provide 2 apartments and a second means of egress from an existing amenity space overlooking Spring Road. This proposed roof addition is located on the east wing adjacent to the interior courtyard and is set back substantially from the east building face to minimize (or eliminate) its visual perception from the public right-of-way.

The existing open space along Spring Road between the Hebrew Home and the adjacent Jewish Social Services Agency building will be redeveloped to create a new pocket park accessible to the public. In keeping with the original character of this exterior space, the design will provide small passive-use spaces with minimal plantings. In order to provide access to the space from the Spring Road streetscape, a new ADA ramp and access stair will be constructed in public space. This will require minor modifications to the existing brick retaining wall at the back of the existing sidewalk.

Below are some renderings filed with the HPRB case.

(Plan showing park area with notations showing improvements.)

(Plan showing location of new additions.)

(Perspective from the southeast (front), identifying location of rooftop addition.)

(Perspective from northwest (rear), identifying location of rooftop addition.)

Artificial Turf or Natural Grass — What is Your Opinion on What’s Best for DC Athletic Fields

January 25, 2018

Last fall, the start of the school year was greeted with the unwelcome news that several of DC’s artificial turf athletic fields were considered unsafe and would need to be closed for repair or replacement. In our area, two fields that came under scrutiny were the fields at Harriet Tubman Elementary School and at the Park View Recreation Center. Fortunately, both of those fields were able to be used after some repairs, but the underlying condition remains.

The conversations that resulted from the field safety issue is ongoing, and many advocates of safe athletic fields would like to see the District discontinue using crumb rubber artificial fields.

Now, the Department  of General Services has created an online survey to allow neighbors to express their opinions on the issue. The online survey will be open until January 31st! (Take Survey here).

According to DGS:

This quick survey is an important way for us to get … feedback from DC residents and users of our playing fields on experiences with fields owned and operated by the District government, including public parks and schools. We’re also interested in your perspective on the type of materials used for field surfaces, and how any major changes to fields are communicated to the community.

Respondents to this survey have the option of submitting contact information for further engagement on this topic, but you also have the option to remain anonymous. Responses to this survey will help inform improvements to District policy on managing and maintaining fields.

Renovations at Park View School Begin

January 9, 2018

In December 2017, months of planning and design work to construct a new cafeteria, new parking lot, and renovated restrooms at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School began.

The overall scope of the kitchen project includes a new and larger cafeteria and dining space, which will be constructed in the school’s north gymnasium. When this is completed, a gymnasium will be constructed in the former kitchen space. Current and past documents and reports related to this project can be found here.

As of the January update from the School Improvement Team, the ground floor bathroom demolition work began of the Winter break, and a dust barrier has been installed to keep the bathroom demolition area separated from the corridor.

A barrier wall has also been installed in the gymnasium to separate construction activity from areas still in use by the school. Photos of each are below.

(Construction workers inside the bathrooms.)

(A wooden panel to reinforce the gym barrier wall.)


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