(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser cut the ribbon at the District of Columbia International (DCI) and Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB) Public Charter Schools, officially opening the first public building on the Parks at Walter Reed, formerly the Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus.
“Our effort to bring Walter Reed back under District control has been years in the making, and today, I am honored to celebrate its return with the students and staff of DCI and LAMB,” said Mayor Bowser. “The opening of this state-of-the-art school is just the beginning of a transformative development project that will bring jobs, affordable housing, and economic opportunity to thousands of District residents.”
The Parks at Walter Reed project will create 5,000 jobs, 2,100 units of housing, 432 of which will be affordable, and nearly one billion dollars in tax-generated revenue over 30 years. The Mayor was joined at today’s ribbon cutting by Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner, Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, DCI School Executive Director Mary Shaffner, LAMB Executive Director Diane Cotman, and representatives from the master development team Hines, Urban Atlantic, and Triden.
In October, the Mayor and U.S. Army held a ceremonial signing, recognizing the official transfer of the land to the District. That action authorized DC Government to acquire 66 acres of the former Walter Reed campus from the Army and begin development of a vibrant new mixed-use community. The 800 DCI and 200 LAMB students are the first non-military tenants on the campus.
“We are incredibly excited to welcome the students to their new home on Walter Reed,” said Deputy Mayor Kenner. “It is such a special, historic place that for years served our nation’s service members and now will serve Ward 4 and the greater District of Columbia bringing in economic opportunity, housing, jobs, and places for learning and community. We have truly begun a second chapter for this campus in the District of Columbia.”
DCI is a Tier 1 language-focused middle and high school. Five elementary schools—Mundo Verde, Yu Ying, DC Bilingual, LAMB, and Elsie Whitlow Stokes—feed into DCI (the school also accepts students via the My DC Lottery). DCI began this school year with nearly 800 students in sixth through tenth grades. Each year, the school will add a grade until it reaches its full capacity of 1,450 middle and high schoolers in 2019. LAMB, also a Tier 1 DC charter school, provides students in Pre-K through fifth grades with a bilingual (English and Spanish) Montessori education. LAMB has three locations throughout the District, and has 200 students in first through fifth grades at the Walter Reed location.
“I’m proud that more than 1,000 students—from first graders learning to read in two languages to high school students preparing for college and their future careers—will have permanent homes at Walter Reed thanks to the work of multiple District agencies,” said Deputy Mayor Niles. “DCI and LAMB are two diverse, high-quality charter schools offering dual language programs that prepare our students to be global citizens, and I know both schools will be vibrant assets to Ward 4.”
“With DCI and LAMB’s focus on global education, we are truly bringing the world to the students and families of Ward 4,” said Councilmember Todd. “I could not be more delighted to cut the ribbon on these two world class schools—the first occupants of the new Walter Reed site. This ribbon cutting represents both the culmination of years of work, and the beginning of a new history forged at Walter Reed. I look forward to a strong partnership with DCI and LAMB, and am proud to welcome students, parents, and faculty to Ward 4.”
“Our students and their families are thrilled to finally call Delano Hall home,” said Mary Shaffner, DCI Executive Director. “This bright, state-of-the-art facility allows us to give our diverse student body the innovative, international education that all of us have worked so hard to ensure they receive.”
The Walter Reed development project is the result of a successful community-driven process led by then-Councilmember Bowser and now by Mayor Bowser. Throughout the planning process, which began in 2009, the District and its partners convened over 100 public meetings. The Parks at Walter Reed will be phased over a 10-15 year period.