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Decision Summary HPA No. 02-608
- HPA Number
- Building Name
- Rose L. Hardy Middle School
- 1819 35th St. NW
- Date of Order
Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture and Engineering PC (“Applicant”), on behalf of the District of Columbia Public Schools (“DCPS”), filed applications for demolition of the two-level gymnasium addition of Rose L. Hardy Middle School and construction of a new addition in its place. DCPS asserted that the present addition, constructed in 1931 in the rear of the school, was grossly out of compliance with District and federal regulations and gender equity expectations that would accord female students equal access to and use of the gymnasium. The gymnasium also failed to meet the minimum floor area requirements for competitive middle school sports. The lower level of the addition also suffered from a structural defect that caused consistent ground water seepage into the basement, rendering the lower level unusable. This defect could only be corrected by digging out the foundation of the building. The proposed new addition would house a gymnasium, choral and band dedicated spaces, equipment storage areas, and laundry facilities. The larger gymnasium in the new facility would allow the school to conduct two physical education classes at once and would meet the floor area requirements for competitive athletics. DCPS stated that the floors of the new structure would be level with those in the main school building and would render the facility ADA compliant, which it currently is not. The Mayor’s Agent concluded that the proposed demolition and new construction were necessary in the public interest because they were consistent with the purposes of D.C. Law 2-144 and approval of the application was necessary for the construction of a project of special merit having significant educational, cultural, social or other benefits to the District of Columbia and having a high priority for community services.
The Mayor’s Agent determined that the demolition of the old two-level gymnasium addition and its replacement with a new facility on the same site would be compatible with the character of the Georgetown Historic District because it would be relatively inconspicuous and minimally disruptive of the neoclassical style of the original school building; construction of the new facility would not affect the visual appearance of the front of the school from the Wisconsin Avenue side and very little from the side streets.
Consistent with Purposes of the Act:
The Mayor’s Agent held that the demolition of the original gymnasium addition and replacement with a new structure would be consistent with the purposes of the Act because it would significantly retain and enhance the contributing school building, adapt it for current use, and assure that alterations would be compatible with the character of the Georgetown Historic District.
Special Merit: Community Services Having a High Priority
The Mayor’s Agent held that the approval of the applications for partial demolition and new construction were necessary for the construction of a project of special merit having significant educational benefits to the District of Columbia and having a high priority for community services. The new facility would achieve this end in five ways. First, the new structure would render the facility more user friendly, consistent with DC’s School Specific Educational Specification (SSES) standards for critical program and functional adjacencies. Second, the project would create entirely new additional spaces on the currently unusable lower level. Third, the new gymnasium would permit two physical education classes to be conducted at once and would comply with floor size regulations for competitive middle school sports. Fourth, the gymnasium and new facilities would be level with the main school building, rendering the structure ADA compliant. Finally, the expanded facilities would allow an increase in enrollment from the current level of approximately 400 students to 550 students.