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Van Ness Elementary

Neighborhood school for "Negro students" opened in 1909 at 4th and M
New integrated building opened at 5th and M in 1956; closed in 2006 as Capper housing project was emptied
Reopening for the 2015-2016 school year with preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten classes

In the Pipeline
25 M
Yards/Parcel I
Chiller Site Condos
Yards/Parcel A
1333 M St.
More Capper Apts.
Yards/DC Water site
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Thompson Hotel ('20)
West Half ('19)
Novel South Capitol ('19)
Yards/Guild Apts. ('19)
Capper/The Harlow ('19)
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)
Nov. 24, 2006 - Van Ness Elementary School as it looked for many years, seen in 2006 after it closed as an elementary school but continuing to operate as an "early learning center." The old Capper Seniors building is visible at far right rear.
August 11, 2016 - The same angle as above, not quite a decade later, with the renovations to the gymnasium and the addition of a second floor nearing completion.
Nov. 1, 2007 - Another angle of Van Ness, this time as seen from M Street SE, west of Hull.
  June 4, 2017 - The same angle as above, with the renovated gym and new second-floor space completed.
March 15, 2008 - The school's northwest corner, at 5th and L Streets.
November 4, 2019 - The same location, with the school reopened while renovations continue. Click to see all available photos of this location.
Aug. 11, 2016 - The front entrance, not quite yet ready for returning students.
May 29, 2016 - The new playground equipment. (Well, not quite so new by the time I got around to taking this photo.)
Nov. 1, 2007 - The rear of Van Ness as seen from the roof of the old Capper Seniors building.
July 12, 2015 - And a view of the school's rear side, as seen from M Street, with renovations underway.
June 9, 2004 - A ground-level view of the rear of Van Ness, with students playing on the playground, at the end of its second-to-last school year before its closure.
  A draft drawing released in February 2015 of what the school's playground and other areas could look like after all renovations are completed. (enlarged view)
If you look pretty hard at the right-hand side of this 1939 overhead photo of Near Southeast, you can see the original Van Ness Elementary at 4th and M, where the 300 M Street building now stands. After the new building on 5th opened in 1956, this old school building (eventually known as the Lenox Annex) remained on the city's property rolls under varying uses. In the 1970s it was a special education school, then an adult education center in the 1990s, but finally the building was demolished in the late 1990s for what has since become the 300 M Street SE office building. Read more about the history of the original school in these two HillisHome posts.
Feb. 3, 2005 - The school's northwest corner, at 5th and L, back in 2005 when it was still operating.
Oct. 29, 2005 - A better view of the school's main entrance--the rendering at top shows how the door will be "lifted" to align with the windows of the 1st floor.
March 9, 2014 - The Van Ness footprint also includes the Lincoln Playground Building, built in 1934 and in 2015 the subject of a historic landmark nomination filing.
Sept. 28, 2014 - Just to the east of the playground building is the currently closed Joy Evans Recreation Center, which also has an outdoor pool that operated for a few years as the Lincoln Capper Children's Pool.
July 12, 2015 - Ready for some sprucing up.
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