KIPP D.C., a network of charter schools in the District of Columbia, proposed plans last week for a new high school on the Randall Recreation Center site in Ward 6 that may include a clinic operated byMedStar Georgetown.

According to Knowledge Is Power Program D.C. Director of Real Estate Alex Shawe, KIPP andMedStar Georgetown University Hospital have been in preliminary discussions to collaborate on the development of a medical clinic at the new school. The university and KIPP formed a partnership in November to provide resources to students from the organization’s charter schools who matriculate at Georgetown. Shawe said that KIPP D.C. approached Assistant Professor Matthew Biel, the director of child and adolescent psychiatry at MedStar Georgetown Hospital, about a potential clinical partnership.

“We’d heard great things about him and so we reached out to see what’s possible,” Shawe said. “If we do consider a partnership, we only want to do it with people who have demonstrated that they are a best in class provider.”

Shawe said that MedStar Georgetown, which runs the Georgetown hospital but is not directly affiliated with the university, is the only non-KIPP entity considering the possibility of joining forces with the new campus.

KIPP currently operates some of the highest-achieving charter schools in the District and is looking to relocate its Douglass Campus high school in Ward 8, which shares the site with three other schools that serve children from pre-kindergarten to grade eight.
“As the program matures and enrollment has reached capacity, it’s become clear that that high school needs additional and space and its own campus,” Shawe said. “And because the high school serves children that come from all over the city, it’s important that that high school is located in a central location that is accessible from areas both east and west of the river.”

The proposed school, which would be located by South Capitol Street SE and I Street SW, is in close proximity to several Metro stations and accessible from both sides of the Anacostia River.

Shawe said that KIPP had been exploring potential locations for a new school for over a year and that the organization wanted an operational high school campus by summer 2014. However, Shawe noted that others may also be looking at the Ward 6 property.

“We think there’s going to be a competition for the site, that the city will lead a [request for proposal] process and that we’ll compete for it,” Shawe said. “If we’re fortunate to win the rights to build at the site, then we would go ahead and start construction.”

KIPP aims to open the school within a year of breaking ground if it wins the RFP. The project would cost approximately $40 million and be financed by tax-exempt bond issuances.

The proposed clinic would only take up about three percent of the total building, which will rest on the 8.5 total acres that make up the Randall site. KIPP plans to include a community center, pool and fields at the site.

Facing backlash from neighbors who see the school as potentially keeping out their children, KIPPemphasized the community aspect of its education program.

“We’re interested in establishing partnerships with neighboring elementary and middle schools, and we hope that those partnerships would result in a relationship that will make it known to those students that our high school is open enrollment,” Shawe said.

Although current KIPP eighth graders would have priority at the new high school, Shawe said that any child living in the District could apply to the new campus.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D Commissioners David Garber and Ed Kaminski have expressed support for KIPP’s proposal, as have four D.C. Councilmembers, including Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3).

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