For further information about any of Central Union Mission press releases, please contact Jocelyn Harris, Communications Manager, 202-745-7118 ext. 221 or JHarris@missiondc.org.
CENTRAL UNION MISSION BREAKS GROUND ON HISTORIC SITE
May 04, 2012
For Immediate Release: May 4, 2012
For more information contact: Jocelyn Harris, Communications Manager, 202-745-7118, ext. 221, email@example.com
CENTRAL UNION MISSION BREAKS GROUND ON HISTORIC SITE
Washington, D.C. -May 4, 2012-Washington's oldest social service agency is preparing to return to the heart of the nation's capital. Central Union Mission will host a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, May 7, 11 a.m., at the former Gales School Building, 65 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. City officials, business leaders, local churches, and supporters will join the staff and Board of Directors of Central Union Mission at the celebration.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown, D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham (Ward 1) and NOMA BID Executive Director Robin-Eve Jasper are confirmed speakers.
The groundbreaking ceremony represents the culmination of years of planning and negotiation between the District government and Central Union Mission. The Mission successfully competed in the public solicitation process conducted by the Department of Real Estate Services to identify an organization to restore the former school building for use as a homeless shelter. Approximately $12 million of private funds will be invested to renovate the facility using a sustainable design that will maintain the building's historic integrity.
Cox Graae and Spack Architects designed the plan to modernize the structure which will include a 5,000-square foot addition for a kitchen and pantry, a classroom, and offices for medical, dental, and legal services. The building's 12 current classrooms will be converted into living quarters, office space, day rooms and meeting rooms. The former basement and attic will be renovated for an exercise room, clothing distribution room, laundry facilities, living suites, offices, and common areas. Landscaping will include a courtyard on Massachusetts Avenue. Forrester Construction will begin transforming the site in July. Scheduled for completion by April 2013, the new edifice will offer: transitional housing and residential suites; job, life skills, and computer training; and adult literacy and GED classes. Brailsford and Dunleavy serve as the project manager for the renovation process.
Central Union Mission Executive Director David Treadwell noted that the Mission's return to downtown D.C. represents a significant milestone in the history of the organization and its impact on the city. The Mission's first shelter opened in 1891 on C Street, NW, between 6th and 7th Streets. With the expansion of the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority in the early '80s, the Mission was displaced from its downtown location due to eminent domain and relocated to its current location at 1350 R Street, NW. As efforts to revitalize the R Street neighborhood greatly increased after 2000, the Mission pursued opportunities to upgrade its facility and relocate to the area of greatest need for a shelter. Two unsuccessful efforts in other parts of the city paved the way for the Mission to partner with the government to fulfill the District's plan for a 150-bed shelter in the former Gales School building.
Said Treadwell, "We are coming full-circle in our location for helping some of our area's most needy residents. Our return to downtown Washington will allow us to expand our service offerings and enable homeless men to reclaim their lives and their dignity. We are excited about partnering with our future neighbors and providing invaluable services that will enhance the quality of life and business in the Ward and the District of Columbia. "
Both Central Union Mission and the Gales School were established in the late 1800s. Central Union Mission was founded in 1884 by churches filled with compassion for the thousands of homeless, neglected men wandering Pennsylvania Avenue, many of whom were Civil War veterans. The Gales School was built in 1881 and designed by the Architect of the Capitol, Edward Clark. Named after Joseph Gales, Jr., the eighth mayor of Washington City, the school served special needs children until 1944. In more recent years the District of Columbia used the facility for a variety of purposes until its condition deteriorated severely due to vandalism and extreme weather conditions. In 2002, the Gales School was listed on the District's Inventory of Historic Sites.
In addition to saving the $12 million in restoration costs, the 40-year lease of the historic property to Central Union Mission will result in savings of more than $30 million to the District in terms of facility maintenance and service delivery to the homeless community. Central Union Mission's annual rental payment will be $1.
About Central Union Mission
Central Union Mission is a faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit. In addition to its emergency shelter program, the Mission operates an 18-month rehabilitation program for men with life-controlling issues, a clothing and furniture distribution center, a retreat and recreation center with a camp for underprivileged children, and a ministry center for the Hispanic and immigrant community. For additional information, contact Jocelyn Harris, communications manager, at 202-745-7118, ext. 221 or visit www.missiondc.org.