(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee, and education leaders celebrated the first day of school at the modernized Raymond Elementary School in Ward 4. This morning, thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students returned to schools across all eight wards to begin the 2023-24 school year. On Thursday, August 31, DCPS will welcome pre-K students for the first day of school. The $63 million modernization of Raymond Elementary School includes the addition of 8,000 square feet of space, which will allow the school to increase their capacity to nearly 600 students.
“There are a lot of excited students coming back to school today, and I want to thank all our teachers, administrators, and school staff who are welcoming students back and creating a joyful first day of school,” said Mayor Bowser. “Let’s work together, as a community, to make these first few days and weeks a success. We’re proud of the academic gains that our students made last year, and now we want to build on that progress and have a fantastic school year.”
The full modernization of Raymond Elementary School allows the school to increase student capacity from 411 students to 590 students. The modernization took the building down to walls and foundations before being reimaged to support the growing school population. The school now features:
- Completely rebuilt windows to meet modern and current building standards
- Public art throughout the building and building exterior
- Redesigned library
- Discovery commons, or breakout rooms for students
- Brand new in-house kitchen
- Welcome center
- Standalone gym featuring archery nets, rock climbing wall, and basketball hoops; and
- Courtyard featuring 2–5-year-old playground, traffic yard, and school gardening space
“100 years ago, Raymond Elementary School opened its doors to students for the first time, and over the last century has educated generations of Washingtonians,” said Chancellor Ferebee. “This centennial brings a new building worthy of the amazing teaching and learning that will take place this school year and beyond. When we modernize school buildings, we open the doors to new possibilities for our students.”
The space was also modernized with sustainability in mind. The modernization was designed as a LEED Gold building, with 110 geothermal wells, electric vehicle charging stations, and PV panels to ensure Net Zero readiness.
“This $63 million modernization, completed ahead of schedule by the Department of General Services (DGS), will ensure generations of students can learn and thrive in beautiful world-class facility. This ribbon cutting is also a celebration of our back-to-school readiness efforts, where DGS has supported 115 schools by completing over 90% of priority work orders before the first day,” said Department of General Services Acting Director Delano Hunter. “As we continue to build, maintain, and sustain the District’s educational facilities, we are proud to work with DCPS and all stakeholders in supporting the education of our children.”
In total, DGS completed over 4,000 DCPS work orders to get DCPS schools ready for the new school year. Additionally, over the summer DGS engaged in a back-to-school readiness initiative, supporting 73 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, 18 high schools, and 10 additional facilities. This effort also highlights the progress of preventative maintenance, which has allowed DGS to continue a downward trend of overall work orders. STUDIOS Architecture and MCN Build were key partners on the Raymond Elementary School modernization project.
The Mayor also acknowledged during her remarks that today DCPS welcomed students to the new MacArthur High School in Ward 3, the District’s first new comprehensive neighborhood high school in over 50 years.
With the start of a new school year, Mayor Bowser also released a 2023 Back to School Guide to help families navigate the many District programs that can support families and students in and out of the classroom. Find the guide at backtoschool.dc.gov.