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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Cuts Ribbon on New H.D. Woodson Senior High School Campus


(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today celebrated the completion of the brand-new Howard Dilworth Woodson Senior High School along with students and staff from the historic school, and representatives from the Office of the City Administrator (OCA) and the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM).

“The ribbon-cutting ceremony for H.D. Woodson is the beginning of a new day for this community -- one filled with history, hope and honor as we celebrate the old and welcome in the new H.D. Woodson,” Mayor Gray said. “The new Woodson weaves the historic ‘Tower of Power’ with a new breathtaking, contemporary-looking, state-of-the-art facility that can serve as a national model for public school modernization.”

The original H.D. Woodson was opened in 1973. The old building, razed in 2008-2009, consisted of an eight-story concrete tower (nicknamed the “Tower of Power”) built on a raised outdoor plaza above a windowless lower level. Construction of the completely new, fully modernized H.D. Woodson began in 2009. The new H.D. Woodson includes a main academic building, gymnasium, auditorium, pool, and athletic field areas.

The design comprises three sections of one- and two-story buildings. Interior features include a main entry, media center, health center, offices, and cafeteria that are steel-framed with glass wall construction. The building features a vegetative roof.

The new facility design is based on the educational philosophy of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), an integrated, project-based learning curriculum, designed to prepare students for a STEM-based economy.

“Woodson’s ground-up architectural design is the first of its kind for OPEFM,” said City Administrator Allen Y. Lew, who formerly was Executive Director of OPEFM. “We are very proud of its design, as it stands as a bold statement in terms of the value placed on public education in the District of Columbia.”

In addition, the school’s design includes space for the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) to offer evening classes as well as a professional development center supporting educational programs for teachers and administrators.

“Howard Dilworth Woodson was a distinguished architectural engineer and civic leader in Washington DC, for more than half a century,” said Ollie Harper, Jr., Acting Executive Director of OPEFM. “Mr. Woodson is an example of excellence for students who attend Woodson High School, and we believe this new facility will serve as a national model of architectural and educational excellence in the District of Columbia and the nation for years to come.”

OPEFM was created by the historic DC Education Reform Act of 2007 to undertake the construction and modernization of DC Public Schools (DCPS) facilities and other large-scale capital projects. The office also manages all non-custodial maintenance for the school system.

In just three years OPEFM has achieved an unprecedented $1 billion in new school construction, long-overdue system and safety improvements as well as renovated playgrounds, new athletic fields and other amenities.

The cutting-edge projects have established standards that meet -- and in some cases exceed -- those of private educational institutions. The District of Columbia is among the most progressive U.S. municipalities with regard to “green” buildings. By law, every modernized school must meet a minimum of Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification as defined by the U.S. Green Building Council. The new Woodson High School has surpassed this requirement and will achieve the LEED Gold Certification level.

For more information about OPEFM and the school facility modernization program, visit