Bowing to community opposition, the District has dropped its proposal to build a 90,000 square foot middle school on the grounds of Turkey Thicket Recreation Center. Instead, the District will proceed with its original plans to build the new middle school on the footprint of the old Brookland Elementary School property at 1150 Michigan Avenue NE, adjacent to Turkey Thicket.
Department of General Services (DGS) spokesperson Ken Diggs made the announcement at a community meeting on Saturday, April 20.
The meeting held by District officials lasted just under 40 minutes and was attended by about 50 community members. During the meeting, Mr. Diggs said demolition of the old Brookland Elementary School building will begin early this summer in preparation for construction of the new 540-student middle school, which is expected to open for the 2014 school year.
Paul Bradshaw of Hartman-Cox Architects, the firm hired by the District to design the new school, said the demolition and subsequent construction will not limit access to Turkey Thicket Recreation Center. “The school’s construction will have little impact on the park and recreation center,” he said.
Gail Douglass of Hartman-Cox Architects said the Michigan Avenue entrance to the recreation center will be widened to accommodate those going to and from the school. Vehicles dropping students off will enter on Michigan Avenue and will exit on Shepherd Street NE. Staff and visitor parking will be located on the Shepherd Street side of the school building. Mr. Diggs said planners were still evaluating the possibility of underground parking. “That is still under consideration,” he said.
Mr. Bradshaw also said that the $1 million playground renovation project planned for Turkey Thicket will now be completed as planned in 2013. “This allows DPR to proceed along as originally envisioned,” he said.
— with reporting by Dale Sprusanksy
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View DGS’ April 20 presentation in full here: