Stuart-Hobson Modernization Plan: Raise Your Voice, Again

update 11/22/13

There will be two meetings soon with the  renovation architect to discuss input into designs for several spaces that will be renovated in summer 2014:
Thursday December 5, 6:30 pm, room 108, library space (total allotted for this space is $400,000); 7:30 pm, auditorium (sound system and upper level seating will have intense scrutiny; total allotted for this room is $750,000)
Monday December 9, 6:30 pm, room 108: lower level spaces (i.e., below the gym–huge, high-ceilinged spaces for dance, PT, resistance training, storage); 7:30 pm streetscape spaces

If you cannot make a meeting, but have thoughts on any of these spaces and what you’d like to see in them, please send comments to Philip Brady, our SIT leader, before December 1 at (please do not use PDF format).

Don’t forget to sign the petition that would fund a comprehensive outdoor space renovation.


update 4/1/13

Stuart Hobson SIT Meeting  Thursday 4/11 at 6:30pm at Stuart Hobson. Meeting location will be in one of the new classrooms to the right as you walk in from the main entrance. Please note that the meeting will start promptly at 6:30.

1)      Philip to update all on the status of additional project funding.

2)      HGA to present the new Addition elevations/floor plans and Cafeteria/Kitchen.

3)      Tom to update all on the project schedule.

4)      Tom to update all on the status of boiler and cooling tower noise mitigation efforts.  Also, update on the timing for the vibration monitoring of adjacent homes.


Update March 11, 2013: The March SIT meeting for SH has been canceled. We will have our next SIT meeting on Thursday April 11 at Stuart-Hobson.


UPDATE  March 1, 2013:

The design for the planned addition to Stuart-Hobson is going before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) this week. This hearing is important, because the addition has to receive HPRB approval before it can be built.
We need people to testify in favor of our addition so HPRB does not reject it!
The date of our HPRB hearing is
Thursday, March 7 at 3:45 pm at 441 4th St. NW, Room 200 South


So far we’ve seen overwhelming community support, as well as vetted and voted approval from the ANC commission. Thank you to our Capitol Hill friends, families, and neighbors who have voiced their support for the Stuart-Hobson modernization and renovation. But we still need your help to give our Stuart-Hobson kids a great, safe, and beautiful building. And time is of the essence…

PLEASE EMAIL OR CALL THE MAYOR’S OFFICE NOW and ask him to support Stuart Hobson’s full modernization.  By the end of January, the Mayor’s budget will be complete, and it CURRENTLY DOES NOT INCLUDE NEEDED FUNDS FOR STUART HOBSON.

Mayor Gray, (202) 727-6300, OR Start with the Budget Office directly to avoid being transferred: 202-724-7700.

Jennifer Leonard, Interim Deputy Mayor for Education, (202) 727-3636,

Marc Bleyer, Capital Program Manager, (202) 727-9543,

The Cluster School community is urgently requesting that the Mayor and City Council allocate the additional $12 million, as identified by DGS, to complete the modernization. 

A minimum of $6.1 million is needed in 2013 just to make the building fully functional and to allow the Addition to be built as planned.  This would include funding for the following:

  • The Museum Program Addition is currently funded for FY2014, but deep foundations are now required to support the Addition structure per recent soil investigations and are not currently funded.
  • Provide access to the building Lower Level by constructing elevator and stairs and finishing 3700 sf of space under the Gymnasium that currently exists, but is inaccessible and unfinished.  It is planned for use as classrooms, physical training rooms, as well as required storage and custodian offices.  There is no other designated storage space in the building.  Without access to the lower level, current classrooms or the new gymnasium will need to be repurposed to store books and curricular material, as well as custodial supplies.
  • An improved sound system, lighting and other finishes required for the Auditorium.  The auditorium is currently used by the entire Cluster School as well as the community, for theater and music productions, as well as special events.  The donated mobile sound system and old lights currently in use are woefully inadequate for the space.
  • The Museum and Arts Integration Program of the school requires construction of the enclosed Museum Exhibit Atrium.  The Exhibit Atrium is fully designed, but is currently unfunded.  SHMS is a museum program school, yet has no dedicated exhibit space in the school. The open air atrium is currently abandoned space.  Once enclosed, as planned, it will serve as the exhibit space for the school and the heart of the school’s museum program.
  • Removal of the original chimney, which was damaged during the earthquake, and streetscape improvements, including sidewalk and lighting repair and replacement.

The additional $5.9 requested for 2014 is needed to expand the outdoor recreation facilities on the north side of the lot.  Stuart Hobson has significantly less outdoor space per student than any other similar DCPS Middle School – and 30% of our limited space is dedicated to cars, not kids.  Funds are needed to move the cars to a lower level, allowing the full use of the school’s limited outdoor space for student recreation, physical education and sports.

Please also contact YOUR CITY COUNCILMEMBER, as well as our at-large councilmembers to urge them to fund Stuart Hobson’s complete modernization in the 2014 budget, to be set this spring.

Councilman Tommy Wells, Ward 6,, (202) 724-8072

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson,, (202) 724-8032

Councilman David Catania, Chair, Committee on Education,, (202) 724-7772

Last year the Mayor and the City Council made a substantial investment in the modernization of Stuart Hobson’s facilities.  Only one year into a three-year modernization, the changes have already had a tremendously positive impact on the learning environment at the school.

Unfortunately, the budget, which was established long before completing a full assessment and master plan, has proved insufficient to address the extent of the school’s needs.  Although major building components are being addressed with current approved funding, substantial needs still exist for the school.

As you know, Stuart Hobson is one of the top performing public middle schools in the city and has been at full enrollment for years. Its sports, music, art and theater programs are some of the best in the city despite the failings of its facilities.

Providing an incomplete school by not allocating the additional funds needed RIGHT NOW would be a travesty, completely undermining one of the highest achieving public middle schools in DC.  Over half of Stuart Hobson’s students are low-income and 80% are African Americans from Wards 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.  Our students need and deserve a fully functioning facility.

The additional investments requested for Stuart Hobson would bring us on par with investments made in Hardy Middle School, and are comparable to the additional funds that were approved in previous years to finish Janney, Wheatley, Stoddart and Savoy.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS!  Please take a moment to reach out to the Mayor and City Council.  Keep in mind that one phone call is worth 10 emails, so consider picking up the phone.  Let them know you care about Stuart Hobson and feel strongly that the city must FINISH WHAT IT STARTED and complete Stuart Hobson’s modernization.



Caryn Ernst, PTA President

Helen Searls, LSAT Chair

Clayton Witt, LSAT


[Updated 1/8/13]

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