Washington, DC — On December 19, 2014, GCS-SIGAL, LLC celebrated the groundbreaking of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. This Design-Build project will expand the historic facility from 176,000 SF to approximately 295,000 SF in order to accommodate its current and future needs.

Named after composer/musician and DC-native Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, the School of the Arts guides students through a full academic course of study and a pre-professional arts major. The school has received an Exemplary School designation since 2012 and, according to its website, ensures “that our students are prepared for post-secondary education and/or careers in the arts by offering an intensive arts-based program.” Originally built in 1898, the building has received three renovations/major additions since and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

The modernization, designed by the Joint Venture of LBA/CGS Architects, will encompass state-of-the-art performance spaces for both the visual and performing arts programs. The historic original front bar and portico will be preserved and re-established as the main entrance for the school. The interior of the building will revolve around a 4 story atrium with a new 850 seat theater located in the middle as the heart of the school. The modernization includes large studios and rehearsal spaces in addition to typical high school facilities such as classrooms and labs. The exterior will feature an outdoor amphitheater on the front lawn. The project is targeting LEED® Gold certification with green initiatives including but not limited to green roofs and rainwater cisterning/graywater usage.

Also in attendance at the event were: Former Mayor Vincent Gray, Head of School Desepe de Vargas, Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Duke Ellington Founder Peggy Cooper Cafritz, and former Director of Department of General Services’ Brian Hanlon.

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.