Historic Ivy City school receives funding as plans to reopen move forward

The historic Crummell School in Northeast D.C. is set to become a community center. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

After sitting empty for decades, a historic school in Northeast D.C. is getting a second chance to serve as a place where kids in Ivy City can gather.

The Alexander Crummell School, a public school for Black students during the early-to-mid 1900s, has been abandoned for decades. But now, there are plans to revitalize the building into a community center. There will also be affordable housing and commercial space.

Approximately $20 million over the next two fiscal years has been approved for the project.

On Monday, the community celebrated the opening of a new basketball court on the school’s property with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The “Save Crummell” signs in many of the nearby yards are a reminder of how hard the community has fought for this project

Wylie, an Ivy City resident, went to the Crummell School in the 1950s, but hasn’t stepped foot inside in decades.

“We played basketball there. I used to be out there all night,” he said.

It will serve as an important gathering place for the neighborhood’s kids, he said.

“That’s what they need around here now, they need a rec center for the kids. This is the heart of our city,” Wylie said.

Brenda Ingram’s home is right down the street from the Crummell School. She was a student there during the 1960s, and recalled memorable moments with her teachers.

While it will be years before the project is completed, Ingram said she is glad to see new life poured into the property.

“Now that I have some great grandkids, I can take them to Crummell,” Ingram said.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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