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Wilson High School $110 Million Renovation To Begin January

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City officials and students at the Wilson High School ceremonial groundbreaking.
Leslie Byford
City officials and students at the Wilson High School ceremonial groundbreaking.

By Kavitha Cardoza

Students from Wilson High School in Northwest D.C. will move to nearby university space while their building undergoes a multi-million dollar renovation.

At a ceremonial groundbreaking, Principal Peter Cahall called the existing structure a "third-world building." He listed changes students would see after the modernization was complete: a new visual and performing arts center, cafeteria and large skylight roof. It would also be more accessible, have better lighting and boast new gyms. "It will be a safe, secure and clean building, one that is inviting and says to our students and school community that you are important and you do matter," says Cahall.

During the renovation, the approximately 1,500 students will be housed at the University of the District of Columbia. U.D.C. was chosen because it's Metro accessible and close by. And Adia Zaba, a current freshman, says a lot of students aren't excited about the move, even if it's temporary. "The building, it represents Wilson. It represents the class spirit, the school spirit," says Zaba. "I mean Wilson is Wilson."

But the design details aren't complete. And that concerns several parents, including Matthew Frumin. He says they're still waiting on details, including whether the library will be large enough and why so many multiple levels are necessary. "Right now lots of options are under consideration and we don't know what the final plan is," says Frumin. "So it's a little too early to be celebrating."

The entire project is expected to cost $110 million and be completed by the start of the 2011 academic year.

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