Construction of a long-planned addition to Hyde-Addison Elementary School began this summer, a project that will connect the school’s two buildings but displace students to Meyer Elementary for the next two school years.
The project, which has been in the works for over five years, has been delayed numerous times amid concerns over financial resources, historic preservation and the excavation of a large sewer pipe. Last summer it was deferred yet again as administrators sought to identify an acceptable swing space to send students during the construction.
Work began in June and will continue into the summer of 2019. Modernization of Georgetown’s public elementary school kicked off in 2014 with renovation of the historic Hyde building at 3219 O St. NW. Earlier work took place in 2008, when the long-vacant Addison building at 3246 P St. NW was fully modernized and became part of the same school complex under the Hyde-Addison name.
“DCPS believes that all students should have high-quality learning environments,” D.C. Public Schools spokesperson Janae Hinson wrote in an email. “We are confident that the modernization of Hyde-Addison Elementary School will support the academic program at the school and meet the needs of all students, teachers, and families. The new state-of-the-art building will serve 400 students, include additional spaces for academic and ‘specials’ programming, and create a more cohesive campus.”
In the past month, construction contractor MCN has set up fencing and safety precautions. Meanwhile, arborists removed invasive and unhealthy trees and set up protection for a large elm that will remain on-site throughout the project. Last week, excavation work began on a waterline under the property, which will be relocated to accommodate excavation for the addition, according to a presentation at a May meeting of the project’s School Improvement Team.
At the meeting, plans for the new Hyde-Addison playground were also discussed. A survey of parents, teachers and students indicated that playgrounds, run-around space, outdoor gardens and outdoor quiet areas are the most prioritized options. The playground will include a combination of brick paving, geoturf and sport-court. Final discussions and planning will continue into the fall and water.
The swing site, too, is being prepared for students’ arrival this fall. The decision to send students to Meyer Elementary in Shaw ignited controversy between parents and city leaders last December, but students will begin at Meyer in the fall.
Commuting to Meyer Elementary, located at 11th and Euclid streets NW, will take 40 minutes for some Georgetown students. Earlier this summer, the school system met twice with parents to discuss transportation logistics. As with similar projects in the District, school buses will pick up students at their “home school” — Hyde-Addison — and take them to Meyer, which was most recently used as swing space during the now-completed renovation of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
This month at Meyer, workers are painting classrooms and installing Smartboards, and they are preparing to remove trailers that aren’t needed for the Hyde-Addison students. Two new playgrounds are being installed, one for ages 2 to 5 and the other for ages 5 to 12.
When Hyde-Addison reopens to students, it will accommodate 400 students and feature new amenities such as a cafeteria-gym space. The old building was designed for 275 students, with enrollment far above that figure.