Seams Bursting, Hyde-Addison Moves Forward

Welcome to Georgetown, Hyde-Addison Elementary School – even though you’ve been here since 1907.

Hyde-Addison, on the west side of Georgetown between P and O Streets, is growing too big for its buildings: Hyde for pre-kindergarteners through 2nd graders and Addison for 3rd through 5th graders. The school needs basic work to keep up with the latest ideas in teaching and learning.

The first part of the project will retrofit the Hyde building to make it more accessible and enable it to accommodate more students. The second part of the project is the construction of a media center, a gym, a cafeteria and a walkway connecting the two buildings.

Dana Nerenberg, Hyde-Addison’s principal, who will be leaving at the end of the school year to be with her fiance in Oregon said, “The most important part of the renovation is to improve learning conditions for our students. We will enjoy new lighting, flooring and furnishings in every space. We are also excited to have bathrooms adjacent to every classroom. This will be convenient and preserve learning time.”

Hyde is bursting at the seams with children. Some of them are products of the general baby boom in Georgetown. (Visit any local park – they’re all swarming with little ones and their nannies.) And some of the pressure on Hyde comes from the expansion of the school’s in-boundary population and the possibility that Burleith’s kids will be added to the Hyde pool in the near future.

For some time now, Hyde-Addison has been moving, slowly, through all the layers of bureaucracy that embrace – or encumber – the D.C. school system, the city itself and, perhaps most onerous of all, Georgetown. One of the reasons Georgetown looks like, well, Georgetown, is because there are many fierce guardians keeping it that way.

The one that strikes the most trepidation into the hearts of the legions of architects, engineers, planners, shopkeepers and plain ol’ rich people who populate the neighborhood is the Old Georgetown Board, whose message is simple: “My name is OGB, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” (Sorry, Percy Bysshe Shelley.)

Coming before the OGB for the fifth time in April, Hyde-Addison got preliminary approval to proceed, which is a great step forward. As Hyde parent and former ANC commissioner John Lever diplomatically noted, “As with all large public efforts in Georgetown, it must go through several different review bodies.”

The OGB is not the last stop for Hyde. After the project gets OGB and Commission of Fine Arts approval, the school will coordinate with the District’s Department of General Services to begin work next school year or as soon as all the permits are in place.

Architectural rendering of Hyde-Addison Elementary School

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