Preserving Hardy Park and Use of the GDS Site
Jackson Reed (formerly Wilson) High School and Alice Deal Middle School are overcrowded. We need a new public middle school and high school in Ward 3. However, it is not clear, that a new elementary school is needed now, particularly in Foxhall Village. The combined population of Foxhall and Palisades is not increasing and both Key School and Stoddert Elementary can be expanded as was previously planned. The following points in the complicated story must be made:
The Department of General Services (“DGS”) should not have renewed its lease with the Lab School through 2038 without a landlord’s right to terminate with a proper written notice provision, say 24 months. The agency transacted on Christmas Eve 2020 with the Lab School in an opaque manner for a lease term just short of the requirement for Council review and did not provide itself the option to rebuild Hardy at Foxhall as an elementary school if needed.
Hardy Park, located next to the Lab School, was completely renovated in 2021 at a taxpayer cost of over $5 million after being closed for 9 months. Now the District wishes to add insult to injury in Foxhall by building an elementary school on the Park, destroying the beautifully designed space.
There is not enough room on the parcel for a 500-person elementary school with all the associated land requirements for such a facility and proper road access to the proposed school does not exist.
Indeed, DGS, most likely knows these details, and plans for the new Foxhall elementary may just be a convenient budgetary place holder.
As a candidate for Ward 3 Council, I oppose the development of a new Elementary School on Hardy Park and I will work to see that the park is well maintained as is, where is. In the unlikely event that need for a new elementary school for Palisades and Foxhall arises the mayor supported by the Council should negotiate title for the parcel presently occupied by the Center for Urban Ecology, located at MacArthur and Ellicott, to DGS and build a school there.
DCPS also has plans to build a new high school on the Georgetown Day Lower School site on MacArthur Blvd, one block to the west of Hardy Park. I support this acquisition and development of a new high school although I believe the school should have no greater than 750 students, not the 1,000 as planned, and that it should be 65/35 neighborhood to lottery, not 50/50, as planned.
Where to locate and build a new middle school in Ward 3 remains an open question.