Archive for the ‘Schools’ category

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.)

Meeting to Share Updates on Park View School Kitchen, Cafeteria, and Parking Lot Projects Next Tuesday

September 26, 2017

The DC Public Schools, DC Dept. of General Services, Shinberg.Levinas Architects, and Winmar Construction will be at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View school for a public meeting to share updates on the kitchen, cafeteria, and parking project. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday October 3, 2017, at 6:30PM  in the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.

Repairs Coming for Park View School Playground

September 18, 2017

As some in the community may already know, on the evening of Friday, September 1, at 9:30 pm there was a fire on the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View playground on the south side of the building. Fortunately, one of the custodians was able to alert the fire department which responded quickly. It is suspected that the fire was intentionally set and a section of rubberized material along with one of the pieces of playground equipment were destroyed. That has all since been removed.

On Friday, September 15, I was able to connect with the Department of General Services (DGS) and found out that they are unable to exactly replace the playground equipment that was damaged — however they did find something very similar. The recommended replacement has been sent to DCPS for review and sign off, after which the orders will be placed and the playground repaired.

While at DGS, I also pointed out the leaning wall along Newton Place. I know this has been a concern for many over the years, though until recently it appeared to be largely stable. Over the past several months, however, the wall appears to be less stable and the winter weather could further compromise its integrity with water freezing and thawing. DGS has agreed to inspect the wall to determine if the time has finally arrived to repair it.

(Above and below: Damaged area of playground awaiting repairs at Bruce-Monroe @ Park View)

 

 

Fossils at Park View School

August 17, 2017

A while ago I found a website that explores fossils in the architecture of Washington, D.C. by Christopher Barr. The site is organized by geological periods and shows examples of fossils that are in stone used in local buildings. I was immediate drawn to the sections on Sacred Heart Church and the Unification Church on 16th Street.

But as I reviewed the site, I suspected that we would also have fossils in the limestone used at the Park View School — and after inspecting the school, my hunch was right. As near as I can tell, the limestone appears to be Indiana Limestone from the Mississippian period. Below are photos of some of the fossils I found at the school.

(An area of trace fossils or, more technically, “ichnofossils”. These are located on the north side of the entry doors on Warder Street.)

(The structures that resemble netting are typically fenestrate bryozoans.)

Tubman Field Permitting Creates Conflict with Community Use: Meeting Seeks Solutions

July 20, 2017

Early this July, the Department of General Services (DGS) issued a permit to Zog Sports reserving the athletic field at Tubman Elementary School for an organized soccer league on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The permit runs through August 31st. A Bocce league currently has a permit to use the field on Tuesdays. The permits for these leagues have effectively closed use of the field to the neighborhood pick up soccer games that have occurred nightly at Tubman for many years.

This conflict of use was brought to the attention of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A on July 12th when an incident occurred on the field during their meeting. While most recreational areas are under the Department of Parks and Recreation, athletic fields on DC Public Schools property are part of DCPS and supervised by DGS.

Over the past week, I’ve been working in collaboration with DGS, the Mayor’s office, and the Office of Latino Affairs (OLA) to find both short- and long-term solutions to this issue. The community members organized a meeting on Wednesday, July 20, to continue the conversation with representatives of DGS, OLA, the ANC, and the Mayor’s office to follow up on where things currently stand.

(Commission Boese addressing the community at Tubman Elementary School with DGS’s Jackie Stanley (left) and OLA’s Eduardo Perdomo (right).)

DGS’s Jackie Stanley came prepared with an initial short-term solution that included reserving the field for the community on Friday evenings and Saturdays as well as before 6 pm on weeknights. Based on the community’s response, this proposal doesn’t meet the neighborhood needs, and Stanley listened to feedback from the residents so that she can continue to work from within DGS to find a solution.

I addressed the assembly stating that I believe there is both a quick fix to prevent this conflict occurring in the future and suggested a need to review the underlying cause that allows for school athletic fields to be permitted in the first place.

The simple solution moving forward would be to change DGS’s process to require that permit applications be reviewed by Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and have a letter of support from them as part of the application process. This is currently standard practice for DPR permit applications. When a permit application is reviewed by the local ANC the community is able to identify use conflicts before an application is approved. In short, this provides the necessary oversight to ensure that the community is not adversely impacted by the issuance of the permit.


(Commissioner Boese discussing the need for ANC review and letters of support for DGS/DCPS school field permits.)

The practice of issuing permits to use DCPS athletic fields dates back to 1982, with the establishment of the DCPS Realty Office as a result of D.C. Law 4-158, the District of Columbia Board of Education Leasing Authority Act of 1982. The purpose of this law was to grant permission to the Board of Education to enter into lease and other agreements for the use of DC Public Schools buildings and grounds, to defray costs associated with the operation and maintenance of public school buildings, and for other purposes.

I believe that this 35 year old law no longer adequately serves the best interests of the community or the District of Columbia as a whole. It was established during a period when the District population, and our tax revenue, was in decline. As the District has grown, so has its budget. This has resulted in many school fields being renovated for the benefit of the community. However, this also makes these athletic fields more desirable for organized sport clubs which are also looking for places to play.

Because of this, we need to go back and review the 1982 law as well as the entire permitting process with the goal of amending both to ensure that we continue to have fair and balanced access to school fields for all who wish to use them.

 

Annie’s Ace Hardware Proud Partner of Powell Padres!

May 19, 2017

The Powell Elementary School Carnival is tomorrow, Saturday May 20th! In support of Powell, Annie’s Ace Hardware on Upshur will be giving customers an opportunity to support the school when they shop at Annie’s. See the announcement from Annie’s below.

Press release

Marvin Mancia, Assistant Manager at Annie’s Ace Hardware, reads to students at Powell Elementary

Annie’s Ace Hardware in Petworth supports a number of schools in the area but we have a special partnership with Powell Elementary which is right down the block from us. Our employees happily volunteer to be judges at their spelling bees, participate in Dr. Seuss reading days, and host tours of our store.

This Saturday, May 20, the Powell Carnival will be held at Roosevelt High School’s athletic field. As part of this event, Annie’s Ace Hardware will do a “round-up” fundraiser. What this means is that all customers will be asked if they would like to round-up their purchase to support the Powell Padres, the parent organization for Powell Elementary. If your total comes to $13.49, you will have the opportunity to “round-up” to $14.00 and 51 cents will be donated to Powell.

We appreciate your support of this event!


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