Old Secret Safeway Building in Dupont to House Mundo Verde Public Charter School

by Prince Of Petworth May 10, 2011 at 11:30 am 24 Comments

Looks like speculation that an H Mart and/or office space may have both been wrong guesses for a replacement tenant for the Secret Safeway in Dupont. Thanks to a reader for sending in word that Mundo Verde PCS has leased space in the building:

“Mundo Verde will be located at 2001 S Street NW in Dupont Circle, conveniently close to the Red Line Metro and numerous bus lines.

Our space was designed for use by early elementary students and includes six large, bright classrooms; a library/lounge; a conference room; bathrooms; and a kitchen that are all on one floor.”

Though, it is not clear if they will be taking the 1st floor retail space because their Web site says:

“Mundo Verde anticipates moving from its incubator space by its second year of operations. In its search, school administrators will prioritize space that is accessible by public transportation and has ample room for outdoor classrooms and a learning garden. The school is currently exploring potential sites in Wards 1, 2, 5 and 6.”

At any rate, the school sounds pretty cool:

“Mundo Verde is the first and only school in the District focusing on Education for Sustainability. The combination of bilingual education and project-based (expeditionary) learning is also unique in the District of Columbia.”

  • Anonymous

    There goes the neighborhood.

  • Thor

    where goes the neighborhood? why the negativity?

  • inwdc

    An Hmart would have been wonderful. I could have bought mochi galore and my favorite cream-filled cookies with sports-prints on them (yes, you read that right).

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, this is a lame use of space. Schools shouldn’t go in retail space or office buildings. How drab to be a student in this concrete jungle

  • anon

    First floor should be reserved for retail.

    If the kids are on one floor, what’s on the others?

  • Sam03

    UGH! There’s already no parking in my neighborhood. Add buses and parents and teachers… Oof. Maybe it won’t be a big deal since we’re so close to the metro.

    Still, I second the other commenters – what happened to the HMart?? And I don’t see how an office building can make a very nice place for schoolchildren to learn… Thumbs down all around.

  • Brian Kraft

    This is an “incubator space” for the school, not permanent. My kids went there when they started at EL Haynes, which used this building in the same capacity. We went in the S Street entrance and up the stairs. The Townhouse was still there, so I’d guess new retail for the Townhouse space is on track.

  • andy

    What about space in Ward 4?

  • skh

    How can people live in a city and be so ignorant of what is around them. There are numerous schools in this city that temporarily utilize spaces like these. How can anyone be upset about a new charter school with a fantastic sounding philosophy. You are worried about parking? People complain about the low level of education in this city, and the lingering social problems that are the result. However, they would rather have a parking spot for a car they don’t need than a decent school for our city’s children.

    • skh

      first sentence should have a ?

    • skh

      and the third…jeez

    • GDopplerXT

      I agree. Schools are good.

  • caballero

    Am I the only one who wonders what bilingual “education for sustainability” means? I hope that includes a strong math and science curriculum, because if not, we’re cheating those kids. And, as a native Spanish speaker, I’m not so gung-ho about bilingual education….

    • CE

      No…and I work in that field! Sounds kind of fuzzy. I’m all for incorporating some lessons about interconnectedness or whatever, but hard skills are what’s needed in elementary education.

      As someone whose Spanish is getting pretty rusty, though, I would have loved a bilingual education!

    • Andy(2)

      Agree completely. Focusing on sustainability is a worthy goal – but it better incorporate science, math, geography, and other social sciences and not just be a “green gimic.”

      As for bi-lingual education – I think it would be better worth the effort to have afternoon enrichment/homework programs for students and ESL classes for parents. Otherwise when junior goes home how can mom or dad help if she/he don’t read/speak English?

  • Rick

    What are they doing to the facade? Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like they’re just covering up the old windows with a new glass shell.

  • Zoning

    One real issue with schools in retail/office areas is that there are some other property uses which are not legal within a certain distance of a school. This kind of regulation was developed with the traditional school/school property in mind and generally work fine because those types of schools tend to be in more residential neighborhoods. In this situation, what happens when a bar wants to open around the corner in what would otherwise be an appropriate location for such a use? Do we say ‘no bars on Florida Ave or Connecticut Ave’ just because there’s a school in an office building? Or do we revise the regulations? It sounds like a minor problem but alcohol licensing is difficult enough in this city as it is.

  • Uh Huh

    Follow the money. These “charter” schools are nothing more than a land grab. There is a reason big business is getting involved in education.

  • Daddy

    Yeah, a land grab! They grab all that land and then they, they, educate kids in the schools on that land! It’s a scam! Then they they let the kids out of the building to run around on all the land that they grabbed under the guise of “recess” and “playtime” and “recreation”. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! We must stop this monstrous waste of public resources before it’s too late!

    Oh wait, this is a privately owned building. Never mind.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who works in the building above Buca di Beppo’s on the corner of FL and CT, I can say that there are already too many large groups of kids in the neighborhood. This is absolutely a waste of perfectly good retail space on undeserving children (are there any other kind?).

    • Scoot

      I agree, no more children! What this city really needs is more vacant storefronts.

  • Neighbor

    They should consider duckpin bowling for the ground floor.

  • dreas

    The second floor of that building has always housed a school, usually start ups waiting for their permanent space to be ready. Some grades of EL Haynes PCS was there before at one point I believe before moving into their space on Georgia. I doubt they will fill the first floor with the school. It will probably on floor 2 as usual.

  • Rashad

    God bless kids, charter schools and education, but that Safeway is sorely missed.


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