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Posted at 7:28 PM ET, 03/ 5/2010

Fighting for Franklin School

By Anup Kaphle

By Lucinda P. Janke
Washington

Regarding the Feb. 21 Local Opinions commentary “Back to basics at the Franklin School,” on the fate of the District landmark designed by architect Adolf Cluss:

As a member of the Victorian Society, which has a long relationship with Cluss’s Sumner School, and a longtime Capitol Hill resident who wishes Cluss’s award-winning Wallach School still stood across from his Eastern Market, I applaud the efforts of the Coalition for Franklin School to preserve the building and its historic role. The loss of so many buildings designed by this significant Victorian Washington architect is tragic. His Sumner School is a superb example of historic preservation via a public-private partnership as well as adaptive use.

Surely a better use of the Franklin than a “boutique hotel,” never mind myriad recent uses — or non-use — can be devised.

By Anup Kaphle  | March 5, 2010; 7:28 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., schools  
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Comments

With Historic protective covenants both inside and out, Franklin School represents a perfect opportunity for reuse as an educational facility with few modifications other than structural. The property has been languishing for years while the structure is progressively deteriorating. There are pigeon feathers and droppings throughout the building. Franklin's sister school (Sumner) experienced similarly difficult times, was nearly destroyed and yet prevailed to live another productive life through a spirit of public/private collaboration. Crime and education are inversely and inextricably linked. In D.C. the former (highest state incarceration rate per capita in the US) needs to go way down and the latter (the lowest rank in the US) needs to go way up. Franklin School may prove to be a vehicle through which to create an institution to figure how to solve that equation and in the long term, benefit everyone in the city for generations to come. The financial benefit to the city may seem intangible today but will ultimately make any possible contributions of another hotel seem trivial by comparison.

Posted by: stablepreservation | March 6, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

With Historic protective covenants both inside and out, Franklin School represents a perfect opportunity for reuse as an educational facility with few modifications other than structural. The property has been languishing for years while the structure is progressively deteriorating. There are pigeon feathers and droppings throughout the building. Franklin's sister school (Sumner) experienced similarly difficult times, was nearly destroyed and yet prevailed to live another productive life through a spirit of public/private collaboration. Crime and education are inversely and inextricably linked. In D.C. the former (highest state incarceration rate per capita in the US) needs to go way down and the latter (the lowest rank in the US) needs to go way up. Franklin School may prove to be a vehicle through which to create an institution to figure how to solve that equation and in the long term, benefit everyone in the city for generations to come. The financial benefit to the city may seem intangible today but will ultimately make any possible contributions of another hotel seem trivial by comparison.

Posted by: stablepreservation | March 6, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

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