Archive for the ‘Schools’ 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.

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.)


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