Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

While there has been lots of news over the past few months about Near Southeast getting some of the amenities that it has lacked for a long time (restaurants, grocery), one service that the neighborhood continues to be without is an open elementary school within walking distance. DC Public Schools closed Van Ness Elementary at 5th and M SE back in 2006 because of a lack of school-aged children in the neighborhood thanks to the emptying of the Capper/Carrollsburg public housing project in advance of its reconstruction as Capitol Quarter, but kept the building in its inventory knowing that eventually the neighborhood would fill back up and a school would again be needed.
Fast forward a few years, and the neighborhood now has a number of families with small children, who get to look at unused Van Ness every day while sending their children across South Capitol Street to Amidon/Bowen Elementary in Southwest. So the Parents of the Capitol Riverfront organized themselves to advocate for getting Van Ness reopened, and put together a "delightful" public meeting with then-interim chancellor Kaya Henderson. But DCPS announced last March that the numbers didn't yet support the reopening of Van Ness, saying that it was most likely the school would not reopen before 2015.
But area parents have continued to try to find a solution, and when word got out a few months ago that the well-regarded School Within School at Peabody Elementary was looking to expand its program and would need a new and larger space, Near Southeast parents began to investigate what it might take to get SWS into the neighborhood, whether in the Van Ness building or in some other solution, perhaps even using the modular classrooms (i.e., trailers) that Capitol Hill Day School has been occupying at 5th and K during its building's renovation.
But today a statement from Henderson being sent out to various neighborhood mailing lists seems to put the kabosh on this movement. While the notion of using the CHDS trailers is "an interesting one," Henderson says that school system "already has too many schools that are too small to sustain themselves," and so it would be a "poor stewardship of the public's resources" to pay rent to put SWS in trailers or wherever if there are already a number of available facilities that could be used. Plus, those other facilities are located where placing SWS "could have an equally or potentially greater positive impact."
The statement doesn't specifically explain why Van Ness itself is not an option to house SWS, and perhaps someone who's been close to the many meetings that parents have apparently had with DCPS could explain that in the comments. It seems to still boil down to the neighborhood just not having enough students to support a school, whether it's SWS or a "normal" elementary school. Van Ness is currently home to some administrative offices, plus needs what has been rumored to be a couple million dollars in renovations to get it ready, and it does appear that DCPS is holding fast to its previous ruling that Van Ness won't be back in the system before 2015. But it's also not hard to imagine that neighborhood parents will continue to try to get a school, any school, as soon as they can.
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1300 4TH ST SE 1001   
02/22/21 
AP BOWER RETAIL LLC / null
E2104231 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1346 4TH ST SE APT 1M   
02/06/21 
null / NA NA NA
EHOP21945129 / HOME OCCUPATION
1331 4TH ST SE R-2   
02/08/21 
FC 1331 LLC / FC 1331 LLC
BP2101814 / POST CARD
10 I ST SE   
02/16/21 
CAPITOL HILL RACQUET CLUB / NA; VICTORIA STEINHOFF
SB2100112 / CONSTRUCTION
Installation of up to six (6) 3-inch diameter direct-push Geoprobe borings to depths of up to 30 feet below grade as part of an environmental assessment.
555 L ST SE   
01/29/21 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / RENNE WELL; RICK HARLAN SCHNEIDER
B2102004 / CONSTRUCTION
DGS PROJECT REHABILITATION+RESTORATION OF THE HISTORIC LINCOIN FIELDHOUSE
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02/23/21 
809-853 NEW JERSEY AVE ACQUISITION LLC / SUSANA VAZQUEZ
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809 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
02/11/21 
GREYSTAR GP LLC 809-853 NEW JERSEY AVENUE ACQUISITION LLC / null
E2103926 / SUPPLEMENTAL
853 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
02/11/21 
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E2103924 / SUPPLEMENTAL
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
02/05/21 
GS CSX HOTEL OWNER LLC / null
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1275 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
02/02/21 
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E2103662 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
02/11/21 
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P2103445 / SUPPLEMENTAL
848 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
02/16/21 
CXS TRANSPORTATION INC / VICTORIA STEINHOFF; TBD
SB2100111 / CONSTRUCTION
Installation of up to six (6) 3-inch diameter direct-push Geoprobe borings to depths of up to 30 feet below grade as part of an environmental assessment.
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

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