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School Reuse Plan Released

The Fenty administration just released its long-awaited school reuse plans for seven of the D.C. public schools that will be closed this summer. Read the full press release after the jump and look for a story in Saturday's Post with more reaction and analysis.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso today announced reuse plans for seven District of Columbia school buildings: Backus Middle School, Benning Elementary School, Merritt Middle School, Meyer Elementary School, P.R. Harris Education Center, Slowe Elementary School and Young Elementary School. Several of the soon-to-be vacant school buildings will be repurposed for use by DC Government agencies, while others are slated to house charter schools.
"These reuse plans represent an excellent opportunity to bring quality services into our communities, said Mayor Fenty. "These moves will reduce rents, increase efficiencies and make programs more accessible to District residents."
Led by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education in conjunction with the Office of Property Management, the Office of Planning and the Office of the City Administrator, the plans take into account public input from a series of community meetings across the city.

More than 400 participants attended 10 community meetings between March 20 and April 10 to discuss reuse options. The results of the plan encompass the opinions expressed by the respective communities and are in line with the reuse principles established at the beginning of the planning process.
Agency Use
· Backus MS - Department of Motor Vehicles Service Center
Merritt MS - Merritt will serve as a social service cluster site, providing assistance to district youth and families in Ward 7. The following programs will be located at the Merritt site:
Youth Transition Center - The Youth Transition Center is a joint initiative between the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) and the Department of Employment Services (DOES). The center will allow both the CFSA Office of Youth Development and DOES Youth Services to operate under the same location providing services in the heart of the community to District youth, ages 16-24. The program integrates work activities with classroom training, followed by job placement, follow-up and ongoing education services.
Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) Case Management and Service Coalition - This program will provide case management services and conduct Youth Family Team activities for 90 - 100 youth and their families. The Service Coalition program, expected to launch next year, will manage and organize an array of services that work to meet the needs of youth who have limited access to services.
Life Pieces to Masterpieces - Life Pieces to Masterpieces (LPTM) is a non-profit, arts-based, comprehensive youth development organization that serves boys and young men ages 3 to 21 living in low-income and public housing east of the Anacostia River in Ward 7. LPTM's goal is to nurture, embrace, encourage and elevate African-American boys and young men.
· Meyer ES - Department of Public Works parking enforcement division. Meyer will also house the Keeley's Boxing program, a community-based boxing program for at-risk youth in the Columbia Heights community.
P.R. Harris EC - P.R. Harris will become a public safety center as the new headquarters for the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department and Department of Corrections. It will also serve as the site for the Metropolitan Police Department Training Center, University of the District of Columbia community education classes and Greater DC Cares Community Tool Shed.
· Young ES - Young will become the headquarters of the Department of Parks and Recreation. DPR will consolidate its headquarters and other programs at Young, including an early childhood/HeadStart program.

Charter Schools
· Benning ES - Benning ES will be the site for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education's Charter School Incubator, an initiative launched in 2004 to provide temporary space to newly established public charter schools. The federally funded initiative will make a significant capital investment in the renovation of Benning ES. The incubator is scheduled to begin renovations in late June.
· Slowe ES - Slowe is currently the site of Mary McLeod Bethune Public Charter School. In addition to Bethune Charter School, Slowe will house one other district charter school. The school is yet to be determined.

The Office of Property Management's Protective Services Division will provide security for the vacant school buildings after they are transferred from District of Columbia Public Schools. The buildings are scheduled to transfer to OPM in groups throughout the summer. OPM will address security concerns through security and law enforcement services by offering patrol operations, security guard management and electronic access control/security systems. If you witness any unsafe or illegal activity, please contact the police or the OPM Protective Services Division at (202) 727-1122.

By David A Nakamura  |  June 20, 2008; 5:32 PM ET
Categories:  Education  
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This article is a lot better than the article that appeared in the print edition. In the print article, I was critical of the Fenty administration's proDevelopment stance. I still am. But I am glad to see that there's a charter schools incubator project listed for one of the spaces. I am concerned that 16 of the shuttered schools don't have anything going on in them. I'd like some more hardhitting journalism on why that is. Are the buildings in such bad shape? Is Fenty holding out to give them to developers? Or are they just waiting to use them for the right purpose to maximize their value?


Posted by: souldrummer | June 21, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

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