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Tour: Bancroft Elementary School

Bancroft Elementary School is located in the historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, DC. This 500-student public school serves Pre-K through fifth grade with a concentration on a dual language program where students receive instruction in both Spanish and English. The school also offers an Adult Education program that provides infant and child care for the participants.

With original buildings constructed in 1923 and 1932, Bancroft Elementary School received a phased modernization and a 75,000 square foot addition as part of a Capital Improvement Plan. The design provides two south-facing wings parallel to Newton Street, connected with a main spine extending from the existing main entrance to form a cohesive campus. The main spine includes a library, media center, cafeteria, and a multi-purpose room that provides separate and secure access to public functions independent of the academic wings. The north side of the school site directly abuts Rock Creek Park (Piney Branch Park), despite limited access due to the steep topography along the park edge. The addition respects the natural topography and is perched atop the natural contours to create a “tree house” effect for the north academic wing, culminating with a nature center located at the end of the main circulation spine.

Join AIA|DC's Committee on Architecture for Education for a tour of this unique school.

Presented by: Design Team from Ayers Saint Gross


At the completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Explore and understand key code issues for schools, and how to assess building height on a topographically complex site;
  • Describe various design features to accommodate a wide range of ages, from pre-school to adult;

  • Describe features and spaces that extend learning beyond the classroom; and

  • Explain how to lead a successful design process with a large and complex stakeholder group.