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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Jan 19, 2012
In the Pipeline
1000 South Capitol
25 M
Yards/Parcel I
Yards/Parcel G
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
More Capper Apts.
Yards/Movie Theater
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
SC1100
Completed
New DC Water HQ ('19)
Yards/Bower Condos ('19)
Virginia Ave. Tunnel ('19)
99 M ('18)
Agora ('18)
1221 Van ('18)
District Winery ('17)
Insignia on M ('17)
F1rst/Residence Inn ('17)
One Hill South ('17)
Homewood Suites ('16)
ORE 82 ('16)
The Bixby ('16)
Dock 79 ('16)
Community Center ('16)
The Brig ('16)
Park Chelsea ('16)
Yards/Arris ('16)
Hampton Inn ('15)
Southeast Blvd. ('15)
11th St. Bridges ('15)
Parc Riverside ('14)
Twelve12/Yards ('14)
Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Cap. ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
 
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2 Blog Posts

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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More posts: Van Ness Elementary
 

Uh oh, the old bat is bringing out the photo albums....
Yup, it's time for me once again to mention that it was on January 19, 2003 when I made my husband drive me around that neighborhood south of the freeway, which we rarely ventured into, so that I could take some pictures (without getting out of the car, of course), since I'd heard there were some plans to revitalize the public housing and also the areas right along the Anacostia River. (Yeah, right, that'll be the day, we said to each other.) I had no grand plans to launch an all-consuming project that would document what might be coming--I just felt like getting some photos.
And now here we are, starting Year 10 of this.
I'm saving deep ruminations on the journey until (if?) I successfully cross the First Decade finish line, so for now I'll just say my heartfelt thanks to everyone who reads, comments, passes along information, and provides assistance, because there's no way I'd still be here without all of you.
And I think folks should prepare themselves for the coming avalanche of posts and photos, because 2012 looks to be Near Southeast's busiest year since the golden Nationals Park construction/opening era.
(I need a nap already.)
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More posts: JDLand stuff
 




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