Support the Smart Modernization of Eaton Elementary

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DCPS has announced plans to modernize our beloved John Eaton School that has served the local community and broader city for more than 100 years. To complete this important project, $55 million of taxpayer dollars have been allocated, and planning has been underway since 2017.  However, there have been some serious missteps with the process. The community has not been fully engaged and current feasibility plans are flawed and ignore community input.

As a result, a coalition of unified Eaton parents and neighbors have joined together to ensure Eaton remains the neighborhood jewel that it has been for the last century – not a “big box” school as shown in some recent plans.

By signing this petition, we are calling on our public officials to do the following five things to ensure the process is fixed and that Eaton’s modernization is done properly and in the best interests of the students and surrounding community:

Save Our Playground Space
Current feasibility designs call for a significant reduction in playground space, which is among the smallest in the city for any public school. Instead, we ask DCPS to revisit the flawed feasibility study to better incorporate parent and neighbor feedback. This feedback includes replacing the existing outdated multi-purpose room with a redesigned structure that includes underground space. This must be done in a timely manner so as to maintain the timeline of the overall project. It also means including parent and neighbor input into the upcoming RFP for the final design architect.

Remove the Multi-Purpose Room
The city must explore the removal of the existing multi-purpose room, which is designated a protected historic structure. The Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act provides that the Mayor's Agent can issue a permit for the demolition of protected historic resources if doing so is "necessary" to construct a project of special merit. We believe the Eaton project meets that standard.  This remains our best hope to achieving our modernization goals while maintaining outdoor play space and reducing the impact on neighbors. There is precedent for this during other recent public school modernizations (Bancroft & Duke Ellington).

Ensure an Appropriately Sized Student Population
City officials must ensure that DCPS meets its recent commitment to keep student population at a level that does not overwhelm school resources or the size of the school site. As part of this, city officials must follow up on their public commitment to provide clear data to back up the student headcount changes they are proposing to make to the school.   Eaton parents and the surrounding community deserve to know how DCPS is coming to their conclusions, which have an impact on all aspects of this proposed modernization.

Address Traffic & Parking Concerns
Before finalizing a design, the city must include detailed plans for how they will manage traffic in a safe and efficient manner, and address the parking needs of school employees, parents, and neighbors.

Secure UDC as a Swing Space
The city must follow through on their previous verbal assurances that the swing space for Eaton’s students during the renovation will be at UDC. 

We remain committed to ensuring Eaton’s modernization serves the best interests of our kids and our community.   We have been disappointed by the process to this point, but believe by working together with city officials, we can improve community input into the design process and ensure all options are considered to produce the best outcome.

 



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