District of Columbia Public Schools

Washington, DC

School Without Walls — School Modernization Program Management

The District of Columbia’s Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization undertook a project to modernize 120 of its schools either through renovation or demolition and new construction.  The District retained B&D to provide program management and project oversight for the projects, and the work began in 2007.  The School Without Walls, a 118-year-old elementary school, was combined with a newly designed building to create a new $39 million high school. The original structure was in relatively sound condition, but interior spaces needed new finishes and the MEP and life-safety systems were obsolete.  We used BIM modeling for HVAC and sprinkler trade coordination for the installation of systems throughout both facilities.  The newly renovated and modernized School Without Walls was completed in 2009 and received LEED Gold certification in 2010.  The project has received numerous awards, including:

2008 Merit Award for Innovative School Design (Design Share) 2010 Learning by Design Grand Prize (National School Boards Association) 2010 Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation in the Construction and Design Category     (District of Columbia Office of Planning)
2010 Citation Award (AIA Committee on Architecture for Education) 2010 Honorable Mention (U.S. Green Building Council’s National Capital Region) 2010 Award of Merit in Historic Resources and Presidential Citation for Sustainable Design     (Washington Chapter/American Institute of Architects)
2010 Best Sustainable Construction from AGC


Waking the Sleeping Giant: Modernizing DC Public School FacilitiesPresented by Chris Dunlavey and Casey Klein at the 2009 CEFPI Conference.

In the News 

Schoolhouse of the FutureWhile budgets continue to bear the brunt of declining revenues, escalating construction costs, and skyrocketing transportation expenses, the need for high-performance, forward-thinking educational environments remains constant.


Learning by Design Award — School Without Walls


D.C. School Without Walls Celebrates Grand ReopeningThe mayor and area education officials, along with the School Without Walls High School(SWW) student body, gathered for a ribbon cutting and grand reopening ceremony celebrating long-awaited renovations. The $39 million historic restoration project began in April 2008 and combines the existing 18-year-old former Grant Elementary School structure with a new 68,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art learning environment.