STUDIOS was selected by the DC Department of General Services (DGS) and the District of Columbia Public Schools to design and implement the full modernization and renovation of the MacFarland Middle School. Located in the Petworth neighborhood of DC, the school serves approximately 600 students and is slated to have a dual language middle school program. The building’s original construction dates back to 1923, though it has not seen a major renovation since the 1970s.
The school shares a site with Roosevelt High School and previously shared a boiler room space, approximately 70-feet-square and 40 feet high. Modernization of the building enabled the design team to relocate the buildings systems and the conversion of the boiler room into a state-of-the-art library and media center with a central atrium and skylights. Additional building modifications will include new entrances on the rear of the building (adjacent to Roosevelt High School) which will create access to the library. Existing skylights in the gym will be re-opened to draw natural light into the space.
Detailed programming of the school involved engagement with both students and staff. The design team determined that reusing the space planning principles of the historic school for classrooms would continue to be successful. Several of the school’s specialty spaces were relocated—such as moving the cafeteria from the first basement level to the first floor—to improve the experience for both students and staff. The design also includes revamping the entry sequence to the building by integrating accessible ramps, a new entry canopy, and a double-height entry. Additionally, the auditorium balcony will be transformed into an open collaborative space, dubbed the “Forum,” that overlooks both the entrance to the school and the existing historic auditorium.