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Howard D. Woodson High School

5500 Eads Street, NE Washington, DC 20020

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Project Overview

Howard D. Woodson High School first opened its doors in 1972 and the eight-story structure quickly became known as the Tower of Power. Now a new technologically advanced community center for teaching and learning is ready to receive a new generation of Warriors.

The new building is a three-story structure with a strong central entrance flanked by lower side wings housing major assembly spaces. A sky-lit atrium with dramatic open stairs floods the building’s core with natural light, links each floor level and serves as the primary student access to educational spaces. Projecting glass bays and a soaring roof overhang form the backdrop for an exterior pedestrian plaza and student gathering space. Extensive new site development includes a football stadium with bleachers, locker rooms, ticketing and concessions buildings, as well as tennis courts, a softball field, practice fields and connections to the newly opened Marvin Gaye Park.

Supporting Academic Excellence:

The school is specifically designed to support a progressive curriculum based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The two upper floors of the building feature four distinct educational communities, each configured for integrated learning. Each classroom can operate as a collaborative workspace or can be sub-divided into traditionally sized learning units. Supported by an advanced technology infrastructure, each educational community includes an integrated learning suite with laboratories and break-out areas surrounding a forum/gathering space. The media center is located on the second level of the central bay, adjacent to the central atrium. The media center is the heart of the STEM learning community, reflecting the culture of the academic program through technology and a collaborative learning environment.

Supporting Community Engagement:

The building is also designed to meet the program needs of the vibrant surrounding community. Facilities that serve students by the day are configured to support neighborhood cultural and recreational activities during offhours. Through careful planning, gathering spaces can be accessed and function independently from adjacent academic facilities. A 1,000 seat theater/performing arts venue includes a proscenium, raised stage, dressing rooms and support spaces. Accessed through its own entrance and lobby/ gallery, this state of the art theater is supported by an advanced technological infrastructure that will supplement theatrical performances, concerts, lectures as well as meetings, cultural festivals and community celebrations. In addition, a new natatorium houses an eight-lane competition pool and separate community locker rooms.

Supporting Environmental Stewardship:

DCPS and OPEFM strongly believe in the principles of sustainable design and the responsibilities that we all share for environmental stewardship. To that end, the new Howard D. Woodson High School has been designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification in accordance with the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Schools rating system criteria. Sustainable and high performance features integrated into the building include over 75% of the roof area containing vegetative plantings. Remaining areas contribute to a rainwater harvesting system that stores runoff in cisterns and provides recycled gray water to supplement interior plumbing. In addition, the building incorporates high performance glazing and a super-insulated perimeter envelope, daylight harvesting, automated lighting controls, water conserving plumbing fixtures and use of salvaged building materials along with other sustainable design

A Successful Collaborative Process:

Working in close collaboration with DCPS, OPEFM and the Woodson Community, cox graae + spack architects/SHW Group has designed this new 231,000 square foot, 3 story school to address the academic needs of Ward 7 far into the future. Through strategic planning, community engagement, will and perseverance, the new facility will embody the vision of an integrated center for academic and community engagement.and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification in accordance with the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Schools rating system criteria.





Debi Gasper | 202-342-2122 | dgasper@theadagency.com