Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Bleak Hallways At Ballou

When schools opened in August, the Fenty Administration proudly showcased the latest results of its $1 billion overhaul of DCPS buildings. Students at School Without Walls High School, Deal Middle School, Wheatley Education Campus and H.D. Cooke and Savoy elementary schools returned to facilities handsomely renovated under the guidance of construction czar Allan Lew. They are part of an accelerated five-year capital plan that is supposed to give every DCPS student the chance to attend a new or improved school building sometime in his or her academic career.



At the bottom of this to-do list is 50-year-old Ballou High School, not due for its extreme makeover until 2014, under current plans. While the school has had some attention from Lew's shop during summer breaks it's difficult to imagine what kind of shape it will be in five years from now, given the conditions we saw during a midday visit Wednesday.

Three first-floor electrical panel boxes were open. Exposed wiring hung from the ceiling where panels were missing. Other cable or wiring was jerry-rigged along walls and ceilings.The smashed out remnants of exit signs hung at the ends of at least two corridors. Bulletin boards and ceilings were in deep disrepair.

After inquiries Wednesday, Lew's office dispatched workers to the school. Lew spokesman Tony Robinson said the District did $4.4 million worth of work at the school over the summer of 2008. "Every year we go in and remediate what we can," he said, but added that vandalism is a serious problem.

Ironically, top Lew deputies from the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization joined Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee Wednesday evening at Cooke for a community forum entitled: "How does physical learning environment impact student learning?" Rhee affirmed "how important the physical environment can be in terms of communicating the right message to our students."

Bill Turque

By Bill Turque  |  November 20, 2009; 11:51 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque,Education  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Report: Rhee spoke to feds on Johnson's behalf
Next: Under God: Religious leaders team up for social issues fight

Comments

Don't stop there! Check out the schools and the needed supplies that are not there! Wasn't more money supposed to be channeled down to schools? Where is the anti-deficiency audit?

Posted by: candycane1 | November 20, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Check Anacostia out. It definitely won't make 2014. Is it even on the list? Ballou, Anacostia and Spingarn should have been a major priority. For once the Chancellor is right, the physical plant does impact learning. Walk inside these three high schools and sense what the students sense about their learning environment. Yet the Mayor funnels money to pay his friends and the Chancellor is busy trying to stay in the national spotlight while the school houses send the message that it is ok to learn in ragedy, dilapidated, pest ridden buildings, especially east of the river.

Posted by: shank2sb | November 20, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Ironically, top Lew deputies from the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization joined Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee Wednesday evening at Cooke for a community forum entitled: "How does physical learning environment impact student learning?" I like that, "ironically".

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | November 20, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company