Posted tagged ‘Park View School’

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.

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.)

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.)

New Cafeteria for Park View School on Track for Fall 2018

April 27, 2017

At the April 26, 2017, School Improvement Team (SIT) meeting for the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View Elementary School, the Department of General Services announced the architects, builders, and timeline for the new cafeteria project. The project is aiming to break ground in the winter of 2017 and be completed by August 2018, in time for the new academic year. The architect chosen is Shinberg Levinas with Winmar Construction chosen as the general contractor.

The scope of the project includes a full kitchen, a larger dining space, a new loading zone, and a regrading of the parking lot at the rear of the building along Newton Place. Leading up to construction, the design team will be developing the plans and getting permits. During construction, there will be times when there will be no off street parking for the school’s teachers. No plan was shared at the SIT meeting on what, if any, accommodations would be made for teachers during the reconstruction of the parking lot. Another issue that was raised was the configuration and condition of the alley behind the school, which is currently very narrow and difficult for school deliveries and regular trash collection.

The estimated schedule for the project is below. The entire slide deck from the meeting and additional information and updates are/will be available at the Bruce Monroe @ Park View school modernization Web page.

Additional Funds Dedicated to Modernize Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School Cafeteria

March 25, 2016

Yesterday, the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School Improvement Team (SIT) was informed that Mayor Bowser had released the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for Fiscal Years 2017-2022 and that there has been a recommended change to the project budget for the school. Currently, the school has $5.7M to put towards renovating the cafeteria, but the estimates to do so exceed that amount. In the CIP, the budget has increased by $5.5M in FY17 with the goal of modernizing and expanding the kitchen and cafeteria. More details will be forthcoming at the April SIT meeting, but this is definitely good news.

NRHP Park View School(The Bruce-Monroe at Park View School now has funding for its cafeteria modernization project.)

Brief Overview from Mayor Gray’s Ward 1 Budget Town Hall

May 9, 2014
(Click for slide deck from Ward 1 Budget Town hall meeting)

(Click for slide deck from Ward 1 Budget Town hall meeting)

Mayor Gray held his seventh Budget Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, May 6th, for Ward 1 residents. For a general overview of what Mayor Gray presented, I have scanned my copy of the handout and provided access to is to the right (click on image).

Overall, the presentation went about as I expected. I’ll highlight a few areas that I think are noteworthy for the community in particular.

1) The budget continues  to invest in education. According to the Mayor, an additional educational investment of $116M is in the budget. There is also $1.6B in the budget for citywide school modernizations.

In FY2015, $404 million is in the budget for modernization projects. The money breaks down like this:

  • High Schools – $173.8M
  • Middle Schools – $20.4M
  • Elementary Schools – $115.7M
  • General Improvements – $94.4M

There are no Ward 1 schools in the modernization budget for FY2015 … however the following Ward 1 schools are in the five year budget projection:

  • Banneker HS – $67.1M
  • Bancroft ED – $35.4M
  • Marie Reed ES – $45.5 M (this building would be razed and completely rebuilt)
  • Tubman ES – $11.2M
  • Adams ES – $12.2M
  • Washington Metro ES – $949M

2) Beyond schools, the following items also struck me as noteworthy:

  • $100M to Affordable Housing — including a $1M increase to emergency rental assistance, a $1M increase to rapid rehousing, and a $1M increase in home purchase assistance;
  • A $2M increase in funding for Senior Wellness Centers (I know this is greatly needed and hope to see the Ward 1 Center on Georgia Avenue benefit from this);
  • Funding for a police force of over 4,000 officers; and,
  • Funding for the streetcar system ($810M), a Circulator bus garage ($41M), and $49M to purchase more Circulator buses.

What I didn’t See

The most conspicuous omission from the Budget — including the five year projection — was funding for the final phase of the modernization of the historic Park View school building. The school was originally scheduled to be modernized in three phases falling in fiscal year’s 2012, 2016, and 2018. The 2012 modernization included a lot of work beyond a normal phase one, so while I was disappointed to see the 2016 phase removed from last year’s budget, I wasn’t surprised either. However, the complete removal of the school from the projected five-year budget this time around was unexpected.

To this point, Councilmember Graham attended a few minutes of the Mayor’s Town Hall at the beginning of the evening and brought up the absence of Ward 1 schools from the FY15 budget along with the removal of the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View work entirely. At the end of the presentation, I also sought clarification on the modernization issue during the question portion of the meeting at the end of the program.

In response to my query, Director Hanlon of the Department of General Services mentioned that the final phase for the Park View school is now scheduled for 2021. Mayor Gray added that if there were any urgent issues at the school that there might be an opportunity to have them addressed through other programs and encouraged me to send him a list of priorities.

As of the time of this writing, I have already obtained and submitted the school’s list of priorities, and am in the process of setting up the appropriate meetings to see where we get. I’ll keep all informed I make progress.

Happily, an elevator and two lifts have already been approved to address the school’s need to be in ADA compliance with work beginning this now.

 


%d bloggers like this: