As GM wrote about last spring, the planned construction of a gym for the Hyde-Addison school will require the school to temporarily relocate (up to two school years). The Department of General Services (DGS) and DC Public Schools (DCPS) are pushing a temporary location that is halfway across town (the Meyer School at 11th and Euclid near Columbia Heights).
[If you don’t care about hearing the backstory, please skip ahead to the bold text below for GM’s call to action.]
This would be hugely detrimental to school population and the community has repeatedly demanded the planners find better options closer to Georgetown. It would require busing kids as young as three years old across town in the middle of rush hour. Google Maps estimates that in normal traffic this could take as long as a half an hour. That’s on top of whatever time it takes a family to get to Hyde and then load the bus. This will mean hours of educational time will be lost every week.
Due to political pressure from our so-called friends in Burleith and Hillandale (as well as Georgetown University) the preferred option of building temporary buildings on the Duke Ellington Field was taken off the table. Now the only viable choice besides Meyer School is to use space at Hardy School across from the Safeway. There will be space there starting next fall because DCPS is ending the Fillmore Arts program, which occupies much of the building’s second floor.
The planners have repeatedly told the School Improvement Team that they are still considering this option, although they do not appear genuine in their efforts. This doubt was confirmed recently when Councilmember Jack Evans told GM that senior officials at DCPS told him that it was a done deal and that Meyer was the choice.
Last week when word of that disconnect got back to the Deputy Mayor for Education Jenny Niles, she sent out a message reaffirming that no decision had been made. To Evans’ credit he immediately sent Niles a letter strongly recommending that DCPS use Hardy as the swing space.
From everything that GM has heard it appears that the real decision-maker for this is Niles herself (in consultation with the Mayor). For whatever reason, this appears to have become a political decision.
The only way this decision will be made in favor of using the truly local option is if DME Niles hears from you!
Please write to her at Jennifer.Niles@dc.gov (and cc: the mayor at firstname.lastname@example.org) and let her know how important it is for your local school to remain local during the construction. Feel free to use the following text if you’d like:
Deputy Mayor Niles,
As a member of the greater Hyde-Addison community, I am very concerned about the possibility that DCPS will use a remote “swing space” during the school’s planned expansion construction. The selection of a building located halfway across the city will have a hugely detrimental impact on the education of the children and will require students as young as three years old to spend hours a week busing back and forth from the building.
I strongly urge you to listen to the community and our Councilmember and select Hardy School as the location of the swing space. It will satisfy all interested parties and be in the best interest of the school children.