Mayor Fenty announced recently a new Capitol Hill development. Stanton-EastBanc has been chosen to redevelop the former Hine Junior High School in Washington DC in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The school was closed in 2007. In 2006 discussion started to close Hine due to declining student body population, and merge its students with another local DC school at Eliot Junior High School located a mile away at 1830 Constitution Avenue, NE. Hine’s enrollment had declined to 379 from 546 in 2005 and Eliot’s to 274 from 307. In 2006 education activists criticized the proposal to close Hine Junior High School on Capitol Hill, saying they feared it could exacerbate an already sizable exodus of middle grade students from the school system into charter schools.
Hine, which is adjacent to Eastern Market and close to the Eastern Market Metro station, is a 131,300 square-foot building located. The address is 335 8th Street SE and is one of several closed schools in the city scheduled for renovation.
Eastern Market has operated continuously since 1873. The Eastern Market is located at 225 7th Street, SE, Washington, DC. It is 7 blocks west of the Capitol, 1 block north of the Eastern Market Metro Station and Pennsylvania Avenue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The attractions at Eastern Market include:
• South Hall: local merchants offering everything from fresh produce and flowers, to delicatessen, bakery, meat, poultry, cheese and dairy products. There is also the delicious “Market Lunch”, known for its crab cakes and blueberry pancakes.
• North Hall: is an arts and community center.
• Weekend Farmer’s Market: Open-air, fresh local produce year round. And exhibitors show their arts and crafts, handmade pottery, jewelry, furniture, and antiques and collectibles.
Hine Junior High School Plans
The plan for Hine Junior High School calls for a half million square feet of office space, housing, retail stores, and restaurants. One of the larger tenants will be the International Relief and Development organization currently located in Arlington. The Shakespeare Theater Company will move into the basement with ample room for rehearsal facilities and costume space. Negotiations are also in progress with Inter Continental for a small hotel. There will be 150 private and 241 public parking spaces. Also included in the proposal are a piazza, a fountain and an area for outdoor performances.
The proposal calls for C Street to be open to traffic on weekdays and closed on weekends for the arts and craft fair and the flea market.
While support does exist for the redevelopment plan, there are also residents who express concern for traffic gridlock and that the design will ruin the “feel” of the community. “We just want to be sure the residential streets remain residential and there is no impact on the residences,” said Norma Wright, Eastern Market Metro Community Association.
The EMMCA will be a “watchdog” over the redevelopment to ensure it meets the criteria of the area’s residents. The success of charter schools is evidenced by a decline in student body population in public schools. The new re-development of old public high school buildings for area residents and visitors to use and to draw revenue to the local economy sounds like a home run for all.