Commissioners Alex Padro (6E01), Anthony Brown (6E02), Frank Wiggins (6E03, vice chair/treasurer), David Jaffe (6E04, secretary), Alex Marriott (6E05, chair), Alvin Judd (6E06) and Kevin Rogers (6E07) made up the quorum to conduct official business at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E September meeting.
Finding a Use for a Former School
The commissioners discussed possible uses for the site of a former school building. Shaw Junior High School moved into the former McKinley Technical High School building at the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW in 1928. Shaw Junior High gave the neighborhood its name when the school’s attendance boundaries were used to define an urban renewal area in 1968. It moved to a new building at 925 Rhode Island Ave. NW in 1979 and gained national attention for its music program.
When Shaw Junior High became a middle school, the 1979 building was closed and the school was moved to the former Garnet Patterson building in 2008, in anticipation of the construction of a $54 million Shaw Middle School building on the site of the 1979 school. In 2014, DC Public Schools (DCPS) issued its Boundary Realignment Plan, which called for a new Center City Middle School to be built on the site of the former Shaw Junior High. It would serve as an in-boundary school fed by elementary schools in adjacent areas of Wards 1, 2, 5 and 6. The elementary schools in Shaw, which include Cleveland, Garrison, Seaton and Thompson, have all been renovated and are increasing their enrollment.
The former Shaw Junior High site is located in ANC 6E, and the middle school students living in central Shaw and adjacent areas must travel to distant education campuses such as Cardozo and Francis-Stevens, which parents feel is too far. Since fall 2017, DCPS has been studying the feasibility of renovating the existing Banneker High School or constructing a new Banneker High at the site of the former Shaw Junior High.
DCPS has not engaged the Shaw community and parents at the schools for the proposed Center City Middle School about the potential use of the Shaw Junior High site for a new Banneker High School. Building a new Banneker High at the former Shaw Junior High site could prevent the construction of a middle school on the site if co-location is not an option. Parents and the community are concerned that no in-boundary neighborhood middle school will be built in or near Shaw if the Shaw Junior High site is used exclusively to build a new Banneker High.
A high school is not a priority for the Shaw community, but the lack of a middle school represents a significant challenge to retaining young families in the neighborhood. DCPS is expected to announce a decision regarding the future of Banneker High this fall.
At the conclusion of this discussion, ANC 6E resolved the following:
- The commissioners consider the construction of a new middle school on the site of the former Shaw Junior High School to be the best and highest use of the site.
- The commissioners urge DCPS to renovate the existing Banneker High School and reserve the Shaw Junior High site for construction of the new Center City Middle School, as promised in the 2014 Boundary Realignment Plan.
- If DCPS wishes to build a new Banneker High on the site of the old Shaw Junior High, the commissioners request that an education campus be constructed that includes an in-boundary neighborhood middle school, per the Boundary Realignment Plan, to serve elementary schools in the neighborhood.
- In the event that DCPS refuses to include a middle school as part of the redevelopment of the former Shaw Junior High site, the commissioners oppose the construction of a new Banneker High at said location.
- The commissioners urge DCPS to engage in vigorous, extensive and sustained outreach efforts to communicate with all stakeholders and obtain feedback on proposals regarding the use and disposition of DCPS facilities in the neighborhoods in which they are located, as current efforts are inadequate and ineffective.
The commissioners voted unanimously in favor of this motion.
Request to Convert Residence into Apartment Building
Stephen Varga, attorney for Cozen O’Connor, requested support for special exception relief of 472 Ridge St. NW (Metropolitan Community Church) to convert the residence into a three-unit apartment building. Commissioner Jaffe advised that the ANC 6E Development & Zoning Committee had met and fully supported the special exception relief requested by the applicant. The commissioners unanimously supported the request.
Jessica Sutter for Ward 6 School Board
Jessica Sutter introduced herself to the commissioners and attendees and announced that she is a candidate for the Ward 6 State Board of Education. For over 10 years, she has lived, worked and taught in Ward 6. She stated that she has classroom experience, which is a credential that other school board members do not possess. Visit www.jessicasutter.org for more information.
Request for Liquor License Renewal
The commissioners supported a Class A Liquor License renewal for Capital City Wine and Spirits located at 500 K St. NW. The support will be communicated in writing to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.
ANC 6E will meet again at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 2, at the Shaw/Watha T. Daniel Library located at 1630 Seventh St. NW.
Steve Holton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.