Washington, DC — The team of GCS-SIGAL, LLC, Hartman Cox Architects and Grimm + Parker Architects recently completed the full modernization of the Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus (“Cardozo”) in Columbia Heights. Mayor Vincent Gray, other public officials and the community celebrated the historic school’s renovation and renewal with a ribbon cutting and neighborhood gathering.
The 350,000 SF school property, located at 1200 Clifton St NW, is an important historic landmark in the neighborhood and city – it was placed on the DC Inventory of Historic Sites in 1991 and the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 to ensure future improvements were done within its historic context. GCS-SIGAL and other team members have extensive experience in historic preservation and renovation and were able to tie multiple uses into a single facility campus. The building now features a high school, a middle school, the Cardozo Construction Academy and other trade schools, administrative spaces, a media lab, sports facilities with associated support areas, and a daycare and playground for small children.
Cardozo’s modernization included a full upgrade of the building’s interior, exterior, and automation systems. It uses high tech fixtures and furnishings to meet state-of-the-art technical and educational standards. Preservation efforts reused as much of the existing materials and structure of the building as possible. Wood floors and tile throughout the building were restored and reused, as were the original seats in the school theater. The theater was upgraded to a full fly stage and is fully equipped with light, sound and a new control room. Other improvements included universal wireless access, new security and telecommunications systems and the enclosure of the two courtyards with glass roofs to create expansive open atriums flooded with natural light and filled with plants in the middle of the school. Built partially into a hill and partially below-grade is a new 42,000 SF sports facility. It features classrooms, a fitness center, retractable bleachers, and a regulation size basketball court with equipment allowing for flexible use of the gym. Additionally, the original pool was restored along with its associated locker rooms.
The construction team provided swing space for Cardozo students at Meyer Elementary School. This space was renovated to suit the needs of a high school population, including the creation of science labs, restroom modifications, modernization of the existing fire alarm, as well as the addition of technology to the school. The GCS-SIGAL team met with each facility member to determine specific needs of each program to ensure there would be no disruption to the school’s normal operation. A new trailer complex provided additional space for 250 students and staff and a tent enclosed the new basketball court to protect outdoor activities.
"Being awarded this project [was] a complete honor and privilege. More so, because Cardozo has always been important to our industry--it is the place for The Academy of Construction and Design," says SIGAL Chairman Gerry Sigal.
SIGAL is one of the co-founders of the Academy and GCS is a current Board member. The Academy serves students in grades 10-12 from all DC Wards. The academy educates students in grades 10-12 about architecture and design, carpentry, electricity, and HVACR systems to prepare them for jobs in the real estate and construction industry. Through academic studies, technical content, applied learning and field experiences, program graduates earn certification leading to apprenticeship and job opportunities.
In addition to Mayor Gray, other officials and participants at the ceremony included: Chancellor Kaya M. Henderson (DC Public Schools), The Honorable Jim Graham (City Council, Ward One), Mr. Allen Y. Lew (City Administrator), June Locker (Department of General Services), Dr. Tanya S. Roane (Principal), Samantha Nelson and Raul Moreno (Class of 2014), Mr. Frazier O’Leary (Cardozo Faculty), Mr. Charles Allen (Cardozo Alumnus), Mr. Julius Foster (PTA President/Class of 1990), Ms. Teresa Luther (Department of General Services), Ms. Zillah Wesley (Class of 1967), and JROTC Cadets.
Sustainable design requirements are incorporated to meet LEED® Silver for Schools rating.
Front entrance to Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus (Photo Courtesy of SIGAL Construction)
About SIGAL Construction Corporation
Founded in 1976, SIGAL Construction Corporation (SIGAL) is one of Greater Washington’s premier general contractors, known throughout the industry for its dedication to sustainability, high quality, cost consciousness, excellent client relations, and the ability to successfully complete unique and challenging projects. A founding partner of USGBC, SIGAL offers superior general contracting, preconstruction, construction management, design/build, and sustainability services. SIGAL’s diverse project portfolio includes institutions of learning (K-12 and higher education), Federal and municipal agencies, law firms, corporations, hotels, technology firms, biotech companies, healthcare providers, multi-family housing, and associations/nonprofits. To learn more about SIGAL Construction Corporation, please visit www.sigal.com.
About GCS, Inc.
Founded in 1986, GCS, Inc. is a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) in the District of Columbia. GCS’ services include project and construction management in addition to general construction services. A leading force in the Construction Management and Design-Build arena, GCS has a staff of over fifty project managers, superintendents, carpenters, and laborers. GCS has a proven track record of successfully complying with and exceeding the economic inclusion requirements for CBE, the First Source Employment Agreement, and the Apprenticeship Act. In addition to recruiting and retaining residents of our nation’s capital (including returning citizens), GCS supports many programs tailored in training and educating the District’s youth through the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation, including the Cardozo Construction Academy House Project. To learn more about GCS, Inc., please visit www.gcs-dc.com.