franklin school dc


Some uses for the building

It is our responsibility - as citizens concerned about this elegant and historic building - to develop realistic and appropriate ideas for its use. Here is a start of such a list. Each one requires lots of thought to make it into a concrete proposal, capable of being financed and implemented. Add your own ideas by sending them to

1.Educational use

a.Public School use – Model 21st Century School (remembering that Franklin School was internationally recognized in the 1870’s as a model school).
Perhaps something like the very successful “School Without Walls”, which has many more applicants than can be accommodated from all over Washington.
A new high school with a special program in international and diplomatic studies, arts and music. There is nothing like that in Ward 2. A proposal for a DC CENTER FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION AND LEADERSHIP (CGEL), Proposed High School for Global Citizenship and Diplomacy can be found here.

  1. b.Charter School use – also as a model 21st century school.

  2. c. A new teacher-training institution to prepare future teachers for 21st-century teaching methods and to offer in-service seminars for current teachers. This could be combined with a model school on the premises. One proposal can be found here.

  3. d.Community College space for the University of the District of Columbia;

  4. e.Classroom space on a rental basis for out-of-town universities. Some thoughts about a “Cluss Academic Center” can be found here.

2.Cultural/non-profit use – taking advantage of the Great Hall for concerts, lectures, gallery space.

a.Not-for-profit institutions with international connections. There are many in Washington and most of them currently rent space.

  1. b.Partial use for a museum: music, labor, photography, high-tech communications currently unrepresented in the center city.

  2. 3.Mixed use
    Any of the above non-profit educational/cultural tenants plus a commercial client. If the building is wired as a high-tech, 21st century school, perhaps a prestigious conference space could be rented to clients with meetings planned in Washington. Perhaps a high-tech firm would be interested in the building’s prestigious location for a non-profit gallery where its technology could be highlighted.
    One suggestion came recently from a fan in Berlin: “I thought it would be a great creative industries workplace. Imagine in every old class room there is a different creative person working, and the cross-pollination that comes from that! Such a majestic building!” Click here for more details.

Franklin floor tiles, December 2009, courtesy of Adolf Cluss Project