Mayor Vincent Gray formally dedicated the new Ballou Senior High School designed by Perkins+Will and Bowie Gridley Architects at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, December 17.
The 365,000-square-foot complex, located at 3401 4th St. SE in Ward 8, sets a new standard for K-12 education in the District of Columbia.
Designed by a joint venture of Perkins+Will and Bowie Gridley Architects on behalf of the District’s Department of General Services (DGS), the new school is targeted for LEED Gold certification and will accommodate a general student population of 1,400, plus 900 STAY Academy students in 87 classrooms.
“The Ballou High School has a truly remarkable design which the Department of General Services is quite proud of,” said DGS Director Brian Hanlon. “Not only does the new school have great architectural elements for the academic spaces and a number of sustainable design features, the new Ballou also has a New York City-style theater with three balconies – making it the only school theater with three levels.”
Among the features of the new Ballou Senior High School are a performing arts center, an aquatic center, athletic and fitness complexes, health and day-care centers, an auditorium, and audio-tech, culinary and media laboratories, in addition to spaces housing academic, administrative and athletic functions.
A central two-story cafeteria/commons organizes destinations and is accessible during non-school hours as a public gathering place. A large internal courtyard, community gardens and improved green spaces help create a collegial atmosphere.
Academic grades and programs are organized into five distinct academies that each have classrooms, flexible multi-use rooms, a television studio, and computer and science labs.
“When Ballou students and staff return to school after their holiday break, they will return to a world-class educational facility,” Mayor Gray said. “With a beautiful two-story cafeteria and a large internal courtyard, the new Ballou has a college-like atmosphere that will inspire students to take their education to the next level. This school will serve the Ward 8 community for years to come and is the school that every student deserves.”
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