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Garrison Elementary School


The current Garrison Elementary School was constructed in 1964 and replaced the original school which was built in 1889. The current facility is typical of the public architecture of the 1960’s. It is a sound and economical structure that met the city’s needs. Solid front doors obstruct the natural light, blocking any visual connection between the inside and outside. From the lobby there is little outside visibility. Many of the school’s windows are covered with harsh security screens.

Bell Architects is working with Newman Architects as a joint venture for modernization of the school. Modernization of the existing building will begin at the front door. The new entry vestibule, will provide greater security and serve as the Welcome Center lobby for students, parents and visitors. Extensive glass will bring the life of the community into the school, and the life of the school to the community.

The new design will give visual prominence to the welcome lobby, as it is seen from east and west. The front door will be a dominant marker from both ends of the street. Flanking the new lobby will be a security desk, with control of the lobby and the connecting link between the east and west wings of the school, and an entrance to the administrative offices, with the Parent Center immediately accessible.

The existing school consists of a centrally placed multipurpose room with an entry lobby that links two double-loaded, two story classroom wings where most of the school’s assignable space is located. There is little variety in the interior public spaces, and little opportunity to utilize this space except as a means to get from one place to another.

Most of the daily activity in the modernized school will take place in the east and west wings. Modernization will right-size the classrooms to create teaching spaces that are large enough to enable teachers to organize their spaces and allow a range of approaches, such as small break-out areas for individual and small group work. Workrooms will be located to improve security and access for teaching support. Right-sizing and re-siting of key shared destinations such as the Media Center will create opportunities along the corridors for display, congregation, and for informal or independent guided study.

Building systems will be upgraded for energy efficiency and comfort.  New VRF systems will be provided for the classrooms and most other spaces, except for high occupancy multipurpose spaces. Specific upgrades for technology, AV, IT, security, lighting controls, etc. will be implemented, consistent with LEED for schools as well as meeting or exceeding the education specifications developed by DCPS specifically for Garrison Elementary School.