- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 15, 2001

The pending renovation of an 89-year-old D.C. elementary school was recognized as a national model of good stewardship as the National Trust for Historic Preservation Week kicked off yesterday.
The trust named Grover Cleveland Elementary, in the Shaw neighborhood in Northwest, as representative of historic neighborhood schools, which collectively were named to the organizations 2001 list of Americas 11 most endangered places.
But unlike many of the other endangered schools, Grover Cleveland will undergo a two-year, $8.5 million restoration project beginning this fall that will include a new gymnasium and cafeteria. New mechanical, plumbing, electrical and sprinkler systems will be installed, as well as the latest telecommunications technology.
"Part of the revival of this city is the revival of its historic sites," said D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrt. "This school is an indispensable ingredient of one of our most historic neighborhoods."
Mayor Anthony A. Williams said the renovation at Grover Cleveland Elementary "exemplifies the citys commitment to renovation and preservation." The school is one of the first 10 modernization projects the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is undertaking on behalf of the D.C. public schools to update the system.
The mayor, a Democat, also spoke in detail of the Shaw neighborhoods history and his administrations efforts to preserve many of its landmarks. The neighborhood itself is part of the locally and nationally designated Greater U Street Historic District.
"Cleveland is a natural model of what can and should be done with older and historic schools all across the country," said Gary Kozel, spokesman for the National Trust.
The school, built in 1911, serves 320 students from preschool through fourth grade. Many of the students were on hand yesterday, along with parents, teachers and alumni, to mark the occasion.
W. Norman Wood attended Cleveland in 1929. He was in the second of four generations of his family to attend the school. Today, hes chairman of the Local School Restructuring Team, and yesterday spoke alongside his third-grade granddaughter, Danielle Fuller, now a student at Cleveland.
Mr. Wood, 76, pointed out the schools brick floors and 17-inch-thick interior walls, and said the biggest change hes seen in the last 70 years was when two clock towers were torn down in the 1930s to accommodate a third floor. He never mentioned that Cleveland was a segregated school when he attended there.
"Ive seen so many children come out of this school and succeed, it never bothers me," he said. "We look at it as a challenge to do better."

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