Community Academy Public Charter School (CAPCS), an organization dedicated to "providing a world-class education rooted in an ethical culture," is giving the derelict Samuel H. Armstrong Manual Training School (pictured, circa 1910) at 1400 1st St., NW, a complete overhaul in preparation for the coming school year. The historic Armstrong School underwent environmental abatement (aka. cleanup of all the crap that has accumulated over the past decade) in October; renovations are set to begin in January.
The Armstrong building, which served as an adult education center until being closed in 1996, once served as one of the first high schools in DC for African American students. Since '96 the building has been vacant; the interior has suffered tremendously but the facade of the building will be kept as-is.
"It was in pretty bad shape inside, because it hadn't been occupied in more than a decade," said Cecelia Blalock, Director of Communications at CAPCS. "The outside has held up well. We're very excited about the prospect of bringing back the Armstrong School to the position it once held as an important element in the community," Blalock added.
CAPCS currently operates four charter campuses in DC, and is seeking new opportunities; their governing charter allows them to educate no more than 4,250 students - they are currently at the 1,000 mark. Thus CAPCS's purchase of the Armstrong School back in 2005 from the District. With the help of a $25 million DC revenue bond, CAPCS will prepare their fifth location for more than 800 students. The school is expected to open in the fall.