Big Revamp Wraps Up for Historic Capitol Hill School

By Lisa Kopochinski

WASHINGTON, DC—Community members, students and staff gathered together in late August to celebrate the official opening of the newly-renovated Maury Elementary School.

Located in Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the historic Maury Elementary School was originally constructed in 1886.

In response to a growing student population, DLR Group designed the 21st-century educational space to enhance learning, which includes a significant addition. The $42 million, 70,000-square-foot modernization project was funded through the District of Columbia Public Schools’ capital improvements program.

DLR Group’s design complements the surrounding historical residential architecture style, while offering a modernized, state-of-the-art learning environment. A glass-edged discovery common connects historic and new components of the school, which features flexible instructional spaces, such as music and art classrooms, science labs and collaboration areas designed to adapt over time. A maker space is used for hands-on and project-based learning.

DLR Group Principal Sarah Woodhead, AIA, said her firm reorganized the school with circulation spaces that also serve as active learning zones to reduce transition times and to foster greater opportunity for discovery, collaboration and play.

“[Our] design team maximized open space for play and community use at Maury Elementary School, which was a key goal for the surrounding community. The creative design of child-scale places, biophilic material and indoor-outdoor connections creates a unique educational environment that inspires, attracts and sparks children’s love of learning,”