Coolidge Community Working Group Takes First Steps towards Modernization

The Coolidge Community Working Group met on Thursday, June 30th for its first meeting with the architects of the building feasibility study. The Working Group provided some initial input that will help inform the feasibility study, which is the first step in making a proposed modernization a reality. For more details on that process, check out the meeting notes below.

Working Group members started with a walk-through of the Coolidge facility followed by a presentation from Josh Tuch (DCPS Facilities) and HOK Architects. Members discussed key questions in small groups and shared their input with Josh and the HOK team.  The group, which includes parents, teachers, administrators, DCPS Central Office employees, and community members, will continue to meet with the architects until the feasibility study completes in the fall.

Meeting notes are here, the architect’s presentation is here, and some photos and highlights from the meeting are below. Special shout-out to Whittier parent and Working Group member Julie Lawson for her kind words and play-by-play twitter coverage of the meeting. Definitely #FF (do people still say that? No? Okay, well we recommend following her anyway). The next meeting will be in late August, exact date TBD.

Terry Going, Coolidge alumnus, leads a group of parents and community members through the school’s outdoor garden and sitting area. The group was impressed by the sheer size of the green space available to students.
Coolidge alumnus Terry Going points out a historic sign from the World-War 2 era, a small piece of history built into the school.
Community members discuss the status of Coolidge’s outdoor athletic facilities, possible upgrades, and access to the public and the neighborhood.
Architect Stefan Jaborek discusses with parents and community members how to unite goals of efficiency, practicality, accessibility, and beauty for the school’s facilities. Jaborek and his colleagues Quinton Pop and Katrik Shah work for HOK, an international architecture firm focused on efficient, environmentally-friendly modernization and beautification.
The group surveys a science classroom and discusses issues of space and adaptability – certain parents and community members begin making recommendations for the new modernized school (e.g. expandable lab tables)
Coolidge alumnus Terry Goings shows the group one of two gymnasiums on the school’s campus. The school is 271,000 sq. ft., which is the size of five White Houses or more than one and a half Capitol Buildings.
After the walkthrough, the group sits to hear a presentation on the mission and goals for the project. DCPS Facilities Coordinator Josh Tuch leads the discussion, setting the group up for a productive brainstorm session and open discussion.
Coolidge Principal Richard Jackson and alumnus Terry Goings share ideas about outdoor spaces for students. The group talked about safety, natural light, and the use of space. Other discussion topics included: teaching and learning, community engagement, and interaction between neighboring schools, among several others.
Josh Tuch (DCPS Facilities) opens up a discussion following a brainstorming session where community members shared their opinions and ideas on each topic.
Julie Lawson, a Whittier parent of twitter fame, shares her small group’s ideas.
Principal Jackson shares his thoughts about academics at Coolidge and the needs of his students.

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