Fenty: Ellington not going anywhere, yet
I caught up with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty this morning and asked him to address the uproar over discussions about the possible relocation of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.The takeaway seemed to be that nothing is imminent, but that the condition of Ellington's 1898-vintage building raises questions about the school's long-term future in Georgetown.
Here is the entire conversation, which took place after a mid-morning groundbreaking for a new playground at the Arboretum Recreation Center in Northeast:
BT: The Duke Ellington community is pretty upset by what they've read recently.Can you shed any light at all on what the District's intentions are long term?
AF: I can't. I can't really shed any light, any more light, than what you've written in your articles, which I've been briefed on.
BT: Do you anticipate Ellington moving any time in the foreseeable future?
AF: I would just say it's too early to know what the entire future of all of our high school projects are. Our general commitment is that all of our high schools are going to get complete renovations and modernizations and Duke Ellington is long overdue.
BT: Duke Ellington is scheduled for renovations in 2012. But can you guarantee that Ellington will remain in Georgetown [after renovations]?
AF: No, in fact, the opposite We're exploring all options for all of our schools.
BT: What's wrong with it where it is?
AF:There's nothing wrong with the location. The building is completely run down and needs an overhaul. I think we're at stages now like we are with a lot of our high schools, looking at what is the best way to get a fantastic building for the Ellington students as quickly as humanly possible.
BT: Do foresee them at Logan temporarily?
AF: Again, I can't even commit to that. It's that early. We've got about four high schools, maybe more, that have broken broken ground. It's only those high schools we can discuss. The other ones, I have to defer to my facilities and programmatic experts who are kind of working everything out. Once they have something more concrete they'll present it to me, and if it makes sense then we'll present it to the greater community.
BT: Would you like to, like Councilman Evans has expressed, see a traditional, comprehensive high school in Ward Two around that location?
AF: One of things we want to do as we start to turn over the population, we've just gotten to the point where the population of the school system is growing, is to find ways to create more schools, that's elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.
BT: So you can see something like what the councilman is talking about?
AF: I can see in the future of the school system, and we've talked about this for the last three years, you know we had to make the consolidations early on. We just had too many schools close to each other, the resources were bring spread too thin. So going forward what we really hope is that as the population of the school system continues to grow, we'll do things like we've done at Oyster-Adams and other places where we have double campuses, open new elementary schools, new middle schools and yes even open new high schools. We're not at that point yet but it's the right goal for the city and I support it.
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