Dear PoPville – What’s Happening with the Garrison Elementary School Field


“Dear PoPville,

I was wondering if anyone knows what the status is for the Garrison Elementary School field (the field runs along Vermont Ave NW and R St. NW). In the fall, I believe it was DPR who came and tore down those ugly blue structures that were allegedly for an old pool. The area around that old pool area has been fenced off since the fall. I heard rumors of the space being made into a park, but that was not a reliable source. Anyone have any ideas?”

11 Comment

  • There are indeed plans to renovate the entire site as a new playground, ball fields, and public spaces. This is now hopefully happening in conjunction w a full modernization of the school building. The fencing there now is protecting sink holes that have occurred recently as earth settles into the ruins of a historic freed slave camp.

  • I believe that section of the field has issues with sinkholes due to the previous presence of the pool. My source is that I overheard someone official-looking say this while giving a tour of the school while I was using the other portion of the field. That area has been fenced off for a long time.

  • Casey Trees is planting with them in the next few weeks, as well. But, I believe that smaller section is definitely fenced off because of the sinkholes from the old pool.

  • The Logan Circle Community Association has made the development and improvement of Garrison field & playground a priority. You should reach out to them to find out more about how they’re plans to turn it into a community resource.

    The sinkhole dates to structures build right after the Civil War (one of the city’s first elementary schools)…when the building was demolished it’s foundation or other underground structures were not properly filled in. The African American Civil War museum has some great info on this…and there has been some archeology done at the site as well (as someone above it, this was once a camp for 1000s of liberated slaves from the south who came to DC with the Union Army). I think LCCA is also working to remedy sinkhole and to build a heritage trail through the neighborhood, too.

    In related news, DCPS announced just today that Garrison will get a full renovation 2015-2016. Hopefully this will give the school a friendlier facade, cheerier spaces, and draw more students from the neighborhood to attend.

  • I’m shocked that nobody has mentioned Wegmans. Seems like any time any space anywhere in the District has opened up somebody becomes convinced that Wegmans will develop it. Maybe they think that the corporate heads of Wegmans sit around a conference room all day staring at a map of DC and wondering where they can plop down a grocery store.

    • clevelanddave

      Really? I don’t think a search of PoP would lend what you say any credibility. While a Wegman’s would be nice, it really isn’t mentioned that often on PoP.

  • Hello, this is Ann McLeod, Garrison PTA President. thanks for your interest in our sinkhole!

    This is an email from DGS on the subject, received by me on Dec 6, 2013:

    As I’m sure you are aware, sinkholes were developing in the Garrison field, and as a result, DGS hired a geotechnical company to perform an analysis and develop a plan for remediation. Complicating the remediation plan, however, was the discovery of archeological artifacts from Camp Barker in several areas of the field. DGS has been coordinating with the DC Archeologist, the African American Civil War Museum, DPR, and the Mayor’s office, on how best to address the archeological artifacts as well as stabilizing and improving the field.

    DGS has been authorized to use funds earmarked for the field improvements at Garrison to hire an archeologist as well as for remediation purposes, as DPR has approved a Phase 1 Archeological survey of the site. An RFP is being developed for this purpose.

    As this process continues to move forward, you will receive updates.

    We have not received any updates since then.

    This sinkhole issue is separate from the modernization items that have already been mentioned, so I’m not going to get into that. The comment from DGS regarding the funds earmarked for field improvement refer to the $1million that Jack Evans got us to demolish the pool (which has occurred) and upgrade the field, which was completely separate from any modernization schedule.

    Yes, the fence is there to prevent someone from falling in a sinkhole. yes, it’s been there for a very long time. Yes, it’s taking forever.

  • I heard Eataly was looking at the site. jk

  • Garrison is a very ugly building that is poorly integrated into that part of the city. They should follow the same model as Dunbar High School: build an new structure in the playground that is better integrated into the community, then tear down the existing structure and make that the new playground/park area. By the time it is finished, there will be a larger population of elementary school-aged students as a result of the influx of millenials into the area.

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