Part and parcel with the Hill Center’s mission statement will be a complete refurbishment of the hospital and its grounds. BELL Architects is planning, since condos are probably out of the question, that the building’s top floor will be devoted to office space for community organizations, while the remainder of rooms will be retrofitted for all-purpose uses, capable of hosting “meetings, workshops, lectures, recitals, after-school tutoring, art exhibits, receptions and the many other functions and events that make a neighborhood a community.”
The ONHF has already secured sponsorship from the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and Capitol Hill Computer Center for select events. Meanwhile, the carriage house adjoining the main building will converted into “a family-friendly café.” According to architect David Bell, the “project’s goal is to create a community center that doubles a commercial building, in keeping with the scale and shape of the original building.”
But similar plans have appeared - and evaporated - before. OPM first announced their intent to restore the property in 2002 and have vetted several projects, but some area residents expressed concerns that the project is now moving too fast at last month’s meeting of the ANC 6B and cited the need for more community input. Members of the project team, however, were quick to disagree.
The ANC subsequently approved the design. However, according to Ann Brockett of the Historic Preservation Review Board, the project has yet to be scheduled for HPRB review – a process that can take anywhere from weeks to (gulp) years. Nonetheless, the ONHF is optimistic that they will soon be making headway on the renovation. “If all goes as planned with leasing, permitting and construction,” reads their project plan, “the Center will be open and operating at the beginning of 2011.”