KIPP DC to open new campus at old Webb Elementary School

D.C. officials are recommending that charter school operator KIPP DC be allowed to take over the old Webb Elementary School building under a long-term lease.

The decision was announced Thursday by Mayor Vincent Gray (D).

KIPP DC plans to open a school at the site in 2013 with pre-kindergartners and kindergartners. The new facility would eventually serve more than 1,000 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 8.

KIPP DC, part of the large national KIPP network, runs 10 schools at three locations around the city. The Webb site, in Northeast Washington’s Trinidad neighborhood, would be its first in Ward 5.

“I’m really excited,” said Susan Schaeffler, KIPP DC’s chief executive. “It’s great to be located in a new area so we can reach more kids.”

Webb, closed in 2008, was severely damaged in a fire that broke out this summer. Schaeffler said KIPP DC is prepared to spend $25 million to renovate and modernize the building.

D.C. law gives charter schools the “right of first offer” on surplus public school buildings. The terms of the recommended long-term lease are yet to be determined, and the least itself will require D.C. Council approval.

Marc Bleyer, capital program manager in the office of the deputy mayor for education, said KIPP DC was the only charter school that applied for the site.

Emma Brown writes about national education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.

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