Resolution Regarding Overcrowding in the Wilson HS Feeder Pattern and Solutions to Address the Overcrowding


The District of Columbia Public Schools (“DCPS”) (1) is constructing a new school at Hardy

Park (“Foxhall”), and (2) has purchased the former GDS lower school at 4530 MacArthur

Boulevard (“MacArthur”);

DCPS states that the goal of these investments is to help address overcrowding in the Woodrow

(soon to be August) Wilson High School (“Wilson”) feeder pattern;

DCPS projects that the Wilson feeder pattern will add approximately 3,000 new students by

2028-29, consisting of 1,300 new elementary students, 600+ new middle school students, and

1,000 new high school students, not accounting for demand at the PK-3 and PK-4 levels


It is anticipated that the new Foxhall school can accommodate 450-550 elementary students,

while the MacArthur site can accommodate approximately 575 secondary students;

DCPS acknowledges that the new school sites at Foxhall and MacArthur will not resolve entirely

the projected shortfall of seats in the Wilson pattern;

DCPS is currently conducting a community engagement process in and around Ward 3 to

support planning for these sites, including the formation of a Community Working Group

(“CWG”) that began meeting in February 2021, along with additional school-based meetings and

a community survey in April-May 2021;

Janney Elementary School (“Janney”), Alice Deal Middle School (“Deal”), and Wilson are

located ANC 3E’s boundaries (and Murch Elementary School is located across the street from

ANC 3E’s boundaries but some residents here attend Murch). Janney, Murch and Deal are part

of the Wilson feeder pattern;

DCPS, through its School Planning Director, has invited ANC3E to participate in the CWG;

Concurrently, the DC Office of Planning (“OP”) has recently initiated discussions regarding the

future redevelopment in the Friendship Heights neighborhood, also part of ANC3E, including the

construction of significant additional housing;

These processes are fragmented. Conducting planning exercises for schools and neighborhoods

separately, with separate agencies conducting the exercises, will predictably lead to suboptimal

results for both schools and neighborhoods;

We are particularly aware of possible missed opportunities within our ANC’s boundaries;

In particular, Friendship Heights has dramatically declined since the pandemic’s onset, with

multiple large buildings and lots vacant. Landlords cannot afford to leave these assets unused for

long as the recovery ensues. This presents DC with several time-sensitive opportunities to create

a public-private partnership to expand school capacity within walking distance of Deal and

Wilson. Such opportunities could be pursued in addition to and at the same time as the

opportunities at the Foxhall and MacArthur sites.

The Tenleytown Library presents another opportunity for expanding school capacity. Former

Mayor Fenty ensured that structural supports were built along with the library so that additional

stories can be built above it. Space for Deal and/or Wilson built here would be within sight of the

existing buildings for those schools.

We note also that as the city’s population grows, it is critical that policymakers keep a close eye

on how new development, including new schools, will impact the environment. The city has set

transportation goals of increasing the share of public transit, biking, and walking to 75% of all

trips within the District and reducing commuter trips by car to 25% by 2032. It makes little sense

to promote these two new DCPS school buildings without consideration of the MoveDC goals.

Depending on the role they ultimately play, the Foxhall/MacArthur sites may generate many

unnecessary car trips.

Now Therefore Be It Resolved That ANC3E:

Applauds DCPS, Councilwoman Mary Cheh, State Board of Education Member Ruth

Wattenberg, Mayor Bowser, and other District Leaders for their efforts to address overcrowding

in the Wilson feeder pattern, including finding Capital Improvement Plan funding beginning in

FY 2021 to construct the Foxhall site and purchase the MacArthur site;

Emphasizes that ANC3E, as the Advisory Neighborhood Commission that is home to Janney,

Deal, and Wilson, has a strong and vested interest in (1) a transparent process by which DCPS

decides how best to use these sites and (2) how DCPS proposes to alleviate overcrowding in the

Wilson feeder pattern;

Requests DC expand this process to include consideration of vacant real estate in Friendship

Heights as possible locations for additional school sites to relieve capacity issues, and in

particular as well as and outdoor/recreational space used by those schools as well as the greater


Requests that the Council enact emergency legislation creating funding for a short-term study of

such opportunities; other opportunities nearby, such as the Tenleytown Library; other city owned

land at the Jeleff and Chevy Chase Rec Centers, and privately owned Wesley Theological

Seminary which is immediately across Massachusetts Avenue from ANC 3E;

Requests that the Mayor, in addition or in the alternative, enter into discussions with appropriate

Friendship Heights property owners to explore possibilities for a public-private partnership that

would provide for mixed use development including school facilities and outdoor/recreational

space used to be used by those schools as well as the greater public on the properties they own;

Friendship Heights is directly served by Metro and several bus lines, and siting school facilities

and necessary outdoor and recreational facilities for the school here would make it easy for

students to get to school from beyond the immediate neighborhood, thus comporting with

MoveDC goals;

Possible sites for such development include the Lord & Taylor site [square 1580], Mazza

Galleria (recently purchased by a developer intent on razing the structure), the “Home Plate Lot,”

a large parking lot (shaped like a baseball home plate) between the Mazza and Lord & Taylor

lots, and the Chevy Chase Pavilion, a mixed-use property with mall, hotel and office space,

much of which is vacant;

We believe one of the best opportunities exists on the Lord & Taylor site [square 1580], and that

it could support a development reserving at least half of its 6.2 acres for new field space for

school athletics (and community use during non-school use) and infrastructure that would

include retail, residential, and possibly a community center along with new DCPS facilities,

whether a Wilson 9th Grade academy or other expansion site for Wilson HS;

Requests the Mayor engage other relevant agencies in the planning process for the

Foxhall/MacArthur site to ensure robust consideration of transportation issues endemic in both

locations. The Mayor should ensure protected bike lanes and sidewalks are available for students

and staff to safely access these sites and must also include bussing as an option. Bussing

students from their neighborhood elementary school makes logical sense, benefits the

environment and is consistent with DC sustainability goals;

Requests the Mayor include more robust inclusionary zoning requirements in development

projects. While this will not address the issue of diversity in its entirety, it will help ensure not

only that the overall neighborhood is inclusive, but that neighborhood schools are inclusive;

Requests that the Mayor’s office and DCPS confirm their commitment to “neighborhood

schools” in the District of Columbia and thus work to minimize distance traveled to and from

school and ensure safe passage that does not rely on individual automobile transportation;

Requests that the Mayor and Council of the District of Columbia ensure that OP and DCPS

communicate and coordinate regarding capacity of local Ward 3 schools and, in particular,

consider what new capacity will be needed in light of planned development of new housing


Requests that DCPS make clear exactly what the new boundaries will be as well as any

improvements in public transportation and bike and pedestrian infrastructure before committing

to constructing or opening either of the proposed new public schools or any future public


Requests that DCPS also offer options to relieve overcrowding at Deal and Wilson by relocating

feeder schools, including schools west of Rock Creek Park, to Wells MS and Coolidge


Calls on OP to direct any entities tasked with analyzing or studying proposed Friendship Heights

redevelopment in ANC3E, to address public school capacity issues as part of their analysis,

specifically, the number of additional student seats that new housing units will generate, and how

that need will be met; and finally,

Strongly recommends development of a Master Facilities Plan that goes beyond presentation of

data to comprehensive analysis of options for addressing overcrowding and recommendations

regarding same.

ANC 3E approved this resolution at its meeting on June 10, 2021, which was properly noticed

and at which a quorum was present. The resolution was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.

Commissioners Jonathan Bender, Matthew Cohen, Amy Hall, Jonathan McHugh and Tom Quinn

were present.






By Jonathan Bender, Chairperson

ANC 3E Resolution re Addressing School Overcrowding in Ward 3

Draft Schools Resolution resolution 06102021 v2