District of Columbia Public Schools

Washington, DC

Schools Construction and Modernization Program Management

Since 2007 B&D—in a joint venture with McKissack & McKissack—has served as program manager for the District of Columbia’s $4 billion public school modernization program.  The goal is to fully and/or partially modernize all 123 elementary, middle, and high school buildings and their related administrative and support facilities.  It is estimated that the program will require 15 years to complete, resulting in more than 12 million square feet of both renovations and new construction.

Our team is responsible for all facets of the program’s implementation, including:

   • Providing strategic advice to the Department of General Services (formerly the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization)
   • Developing and periodically updating the Master Facilities Plan
   • Scoping, budgeting, and scheduling each project
   • Annually developing and updating of the program’s six-year Capital Improvement Plan
   • Developing each project’s architectural program / Educational Specification
   • Selecting and contracting with architects and design teams for each project
   • Bidding and procuring construction contractors and design-builders
   • Managing the design, construction, and occupancy processes for each project
   • Ensuring on-time, on-budget delivery of each project while maintaining the highest quality for each
   • Ensuring achievement of sustainable design goals and economic inclusion goals

The modernization program consists of the full renovation or, in some cases, demolition and reconstruction of school facilities to adhere to current standards for technology and academic programs. Each school also must meet modern requirements for life safety, accessibility, environmental sensitivity, and the general health and well-being of students, teachers, and administrators.

No two schools in this project are alike, and a unique response to each facility is needed.  Because our program management team members come from a variety of backgrounds—architecture, engineering, planning, construction management—they are able to provide a unique solution for each property and fuse together the aspirations of the community with existing school conditions.  We work closely with school administrators, faculty, and students at every step of the renovation/construction process.  From the beginning when the team helps school members pack up and move out before construction begins, to the end when the team trains the community to give tours of the new facility, everyone is involved, giving everyone a greater sense of community ownership and pride.  This community ownership and pride is also evident in the increased enthusiasm of surrounding neighborhoods.  Hundreds of residents attend summertime ribbon cutting ceremonies to celebrate the opening of their new neighborhood facilities.  Parents and students are increasingly involved in the modernization process via volunteer School Improvement teams and wider community outreach meetings.

All work completed to date under every modernization project and stabilization program has been finished on time and on budget.  The program has been a national model of sustainable design, with each project achieving at least LEED Silver certification (including Cooke Elementary School, the first school in America certified under the USGBC’s LEED for Schools rating, and Dunbar High School, the United States’ first LEED Platinum public high school).  Furthermore, the program has achieved record economic benefits for the city, as more than 50% of all contract dollars have been earned by certified local business enterprises, and more than 40% of construction hours on each project have been worked by D.C. residents. Additionally, facility improvements have contributed to improved academic performance; for the first time in decades, D.C. Public School’s enrollment and average test scores have consistently risen.

The program has earned approximately 100 industry awards for excellence in program management, design, construction, sustainability, and nearly every other capital development project component.

Presentations 

Transforming a Diamond in the RoughPresented by Beth Penfield, Kerric Baird, Christoffer A. Graae, and Alexander Wilson at the 2013 DesignDC Conference.

Panel Discussion: "Education Built to Last" Facilities Best PracticesPanel participant: Beth Penfield at the 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Tour Listening Session.

Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times: Using Strategic Planning to Maximize Capital InvestmentPresented by Rachel Lynn and Hakim Chambers at the 2013 CEFPI Northeast Regional Conference.

Lessons from a Green Ribbon School: Integrating Sustainability and EducationPresented by Beth Penfield and Sean O'Donnell at the 2013 Green Schools National Conference.

Public Schools: Reclaiming Innovation Through Adaptive ReusePresented by Chris Dunlavey, Beth Penfield, Gerard Heiber, Kerric T. Baird, and Anthony DeGuzman at the 2011 USGBC Government Summit.

A Beginner’s Guide to Energy ModelingPresented by Jay Brinson at the 2010 National Charter Schools Conference.

Enhancing the Image of Institutions: How Will It Drive Long-term Facility Management?Presented by Chris Dunlavey, Philip Artin, and Michelle Honey at the 2010 NFMT Conference.

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

Taming the Trend: How to Strategically Green Your SchoolsPresented by Will Mangrum and Beth Penfield at the 2009 CEFPI Conference.

Greening DC's Public SchoolsPresented by Beth Penfield at the 2009 DesignDC Conference.

Green Sports: Can Athletic Fields Reflect Sustainable Design?Presented by Sanath Kalidas and Bill Mykins at the 2007 Green California Schools Summit & Exposition.

Publications 

Nation’s Capital Leads in Sustainability

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Modernizing Washington DC Schools and Its Measurable Effect on Learning

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New Performance Spaces for Older Schools

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Trends in Green: Dunbar High School

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The Case for 21st-Century Schools

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Crucial Phases in School Modernizations

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A New Community Hub in Downtown D.C.

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Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times: Using Strategic Planning & Implementation to Maximize Capital Investment

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In the News 

D.C. Schools Seek Input on Building Redesigns...Ty Specht, an educational facilities planner for Brailsford & Dunlavey, a program management firm in the District working with the school modernization process, made a slide presentation that showed the modes in which schools are being designed to the audience.

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Gold Citation - Common Areas — Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School

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Forget facelifts. Architects are giving D.C. public schools luxurious settings worthy of trophy office buildings.Battle lines are being drawn over D.C.’s public school boundaries, but we’ve already seen victories in improving the physical environments for learning.

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Outstanding Design, Architecture in Education — Honorable Mention — Dunbar Senior High School

Learning by Design - Grand Prize Award - New Construction / Addition (Entire School / Campus Building) — Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School

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School Roofs Aren't What They Used To BeThey really don't make roofs the way they used to.

Outstanding Design Award — Anacostia High School

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Architectural Showcase — Wilson Aquatic Center

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Design Build Award — Henry D. Cooke Elementary School

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Best Sustainable Project of the Year - Design Build — Henry D. Cooke Elementary School

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Sustainability & Innovation Award — Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School

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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.

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Learning by Design Award — Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School

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Learning by Design Award — School Without Walls

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Award of Merit - K-12 Schools — Addison Elementary School

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Learning Curve: Putting Healthy School Principles Into PracticeThe H-shape design planned for New York City’s new Public School 109, as described by The New York Times, allowed for large courtyards shielded from neighbors’ noise for play and recreation, windows that open onto the courtyards to provide light and air, and thoroughly ventilated wardrobes to dry clothing and maintain circulation. That was a few years ago—in 1901, to be exact.

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Impact on Learning Award — Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School

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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.

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School's In: Architects Reshape DC Public SchoolsThere's a huge amount of energy, innovation, and expertise pouring into DC public schools these days. Much of the effort quite properly revolves around curricula and standards of discipline.  But architecture is increasingly playing a big role, too, partly because of the provision of the quality facilities is a rare facet of education reform embraced by people of almost all viewpoints, and partly because the rise of public charter and magnet schools has introduced competition for students.

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