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Reviving McKinley

Orange proposes high-tech school, associate degrees

(Published April 10, 2000)

By KATHRYN SINZINGER

Staff Writer

Building on the mayor’s proposal to create a high-tech high school, Ward 5 Councilman Vincent Orange has proposed renovating and reopening McKinley Technical Senior High School in Northeast Washington and expanding its programs to include the awarding of associate degrees from the University of the District of Columbia.

Kifah Jayyousi, the chief facilities officer for D.C. Public Schools, said redeveloping McKinley has been under consideration as part of the master facilities planning process that is underway for the public schools.

A spokesman for the control board did not respond to an inquiry into why the control board included McKinley March 29 on a list of surplus schools for possible disposal by the mayor when the council and school officials are moving forward on plans to reopen it.

The control board has given Superintendent Arlene Ackerman 45 days to justify why McKinley and five other schools should not be taken out of DCPS’s property portfolio. On the same day, the control board turned over control of 32 other school buildings not currently being used for DCPS programs to the mayor’s office.

Orange’s proposal, introduced April 4, is being co-sponsored by nine of his council colleagues.

Orange noted that McKinley’s 22-acre campus overlooks the New York Avenue-Florida Avenue corridor that has been dubbed NoMa ("north of Massachusetts Avenue") as part of a strategy to lure technology companies to the District.

Orange said creating the McKinley Technology Campus and Conference Center in such close proximity to what is being envisioned as the city’s technology hub would enhance the ability of those companies to interact with training programs.

Orange’s bill proposes directing part of the $3 million Mayor Anthony A. Williams wants to spend from reserve funds to finance technology programs at UDC on the creation of the Frederick Douglass School of Technology. The Douglass School would be housed at McKinley but operated by UDC and would grant associate degrees in technology. Orange also envisions a fund-raising effort to gain industry support.

The councilman’s proposal also calls for the redevelopment of athletic and cultural facilities at McKinley as community resources.

Copyright 2000, The Common Denominator