Housing Complex

Reno School Lands $1 Million, Thanks to Data Center Switcharoo

Not much to look at now...(courtesy of HPRB)

Not much to look at now...(courtesy of HPRB)

Last year, during the game of musical chairs that had D.C. government agencies moving around to different buildings all over the city, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer decided to move some of its data center operations to the newly-purchased warehouse at 225 Virginia Avenue instead of the Unified Communications Center, as previously planned. As it happened, that made the move $979,000 cheaper.

Today, during the Council's marathon final budget negotiations, Councilwoman Mary Cheh passed an amendment to move that money to a squeaky wheel in her own Ward 3: The Jesse Reno School at 4820 Howard Street NW, which was built in 1903 as a school for the Reno City community of escaped slaves in modern-day Tenleytown. Its most recent use was as a school for special needs children, but the eight-room, Renaissance-style building has lain vacant for many years.

This year, the Tenleytown Historical Society got it landmarked by the Historic Preservation Review Board, while the neighboring Alice Deal School looked for the funds to renovate it for use as a performing arts facility and school nursery. Cheh found the $4 to 5 million necessary during the last two budgets, according to her office, but "for one reason or another" the money fell through. In the mean time, the $979,000 will stabilize the building, which has suffered from vandalism and water damage, as well as pay for an architect to draw up the plans.

  • Sally

    So in bringing home the pork to the struggling residents of Ward 3, does that mean OCTO now needs to shell out $1 million to pay rent elsewhere for its servers?

    And how does a Councilmember move $1 million at the 11th hour, with no public notice or input?

    Oh yeah, I forgot. This is Vince Gray's City Council where those sorts of shenanigans are tolerated.

  • DC Guy

    I disagree Sally. This is an important building for the city and Ward which has deteriorated over time. That it can be restored as an important reminder of our city's past and be put to productive use seems a good use of public assets.

  • Keith B

    Sally, it says moving the data center to 225 Virginia INSTEAD of the UCC saved the million bucks.