(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Bowser today celebrated the start of renovations that will transform the Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School, a national historic landmark, into a DC Public Schools (DCPS) Early Childhood Education Center with PK3 and PK4 classes and a child care center for infants and toddlers ages 0 to 3 that will be managed by a community-based organization. The adjacent parcel (2100 L Street, NW), soon-to-be Stevens Place, will feature a new 190,000 square-foot commercial office building with underground parking. The Mayor was joined at the groundbreaking by Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner, DCPS Interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander, and President and CEO of Akridge Matt Klein.
“With this project, we’re delivering on our commitment to expand access to early child care,” said Mayor Bowser. “Together, we are giving new life to an important historic landmark, moving forward a long-stalled project, and creating a much-needed resource for our community.”
As one of the District of Columbia’s first public schools built for the education of African American children, Stevens School has played a significant role in the District’s history. Constructed in 1868, the school was named after the Pennsylvania Congressman and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. The building will reopen for the 2020-2021 school year.
“We are breathing new life into the historic Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School after 19 years of collaboration – that is something to celebrate,” said Deputy Mayor Kenner. “It will welcome new children for years to come and continue to be a city icon.”
Last summer, as part of the Administration’s increased efforts to expand access to affordable child care, Mayor Bowser announced plans to reopen the Thaddeus Stevens School as an early child care center. Over the past year, the Bowser Administration has made critical progress in supporting Washington, DC’s youngest learners. The Administration launched My Child Care DC, a one-stop online resource that helps families find and compare child care options in Washington, DC; increased supports for early childhood educators; expanded the First Step Child Development Associate program; and launched Thrive By Five, a citywide effort to connect more DC families to a wide range of resources that support maternal and child health, behavioral health, and early education.
“Akridge is proud of its role in the Stevens School and Stevens Place at 2100 L Street,” said Matt Klein, President of Akridge. “We are eager to strengthen our commitment to the community through both buildings and look forward to delivering a sophisticated and efficient building at 2100 L Street.”
Stevens Place, which is being designed by Martinez & Johnson Architecture, will include a rotating art gallery of works from African American artists as well as a statue outside the building and a feature wall commemorating Thaddeus Stevens. Additionally, Stevens Place will provide various community benefits including a college scholarship program for District students and programming that will expose students to real estate development and construction.
Per the Mayor’s goal of providing space in government facilities at nominal cost to early child care providers, the District released a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) in February to gauge interest in operating an early childhood education facility at Thaddeus Stevens. A Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Thaddeus Stevens space will be released later this year. The developer for the Stevens School project is a partnership of Akridge, Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) (NYSE: OFC), and Argos Group.