Following its impending renovation, Douglass School in Leesburg will, as currently planned, provide space for several local educational organizations as well as the display of historical artifacts.
“This is a very important project, and we look forward to a great project that the whole community can be proud of,” Loudoun County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Kevin Lewis said at the meeting. of the school board on Tuesday.
Douglass School opened in 1941 and was Loudoun’s first high school for African American children. It later became an alternative high school and adopted dedicated programs for special education students, English language learners and substance abuse education, as well as Douglass Community Center housing.
This fall, a new LCPS facility called The North Star School at 715 Childrens Center Road SW in Leesburg will begin to house all Douglass programs, as well as its current occupants. This transition will make way for the “complete renewal of the Douglass High School building,” according to school board documents.
In June 2019, the LCPS awarded the official architect contract for the Douglass High School Renewal to DC-based company Beyer Blinder Belle, and it awarded the construction management venture general contractor for the project. at Gilbane Construction of Rhode Island the following January.
Current LCPS programs that will be housed in the renovated building include the Drop-In Center for English Learners, Head Start, Start Toward Excellence in Preschool (STEP), and Child Find Program, and the building will include a space for parks, recreation and community use in Loudoun County. Services. Another space will allow the exhibition of historical artifacts by community stakeholders.
Working with Beyer Blinder Belle, LCPS developed a potential layout for the interior of the original 1941 building. This floor plan layout includes three 596 square foot meeting rooms, as well as a children’s play area, a family break room, a wellness room and a flexible space.
Last year, school system staff held public information presentations about the project to gather feedback from the community and organizations such as the Loudoun Douglass High School Alumni Association, the Loudoun NAACP, the Edwin Washington Project and organizers of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March.
According to Lewis, several organizations have requested to be given designated spaces in the building. Per LCPS Policy 6310, Use of Facilities, “public spaces primarily associated with the historic portion of the facility” may be reserved in coordination with LCPS administrators, in accordance with Board documents.
“The original 1941 structure…was built by the African American community, and so we want to make sure that people who want to come and see the building can use, see, and tour the building, and use the public areas of the building” , Lewis said.
Leslee King, who chairs the school board’s finance committee, said the committee will have a schedule of other meetings on the project ready by the end of March.