Sidwell Friends School recently purchased two properties bordering the Wisconsin Avenue campus. These two locations—the Washington Home on Upton Street NW and Fannie Mae’s Johnson Building at 3939 Wisconsin Avenue—offer the School an unprecedented opportunity to unify its two campuses and enhance the presence of Quaker education in Washington, DC.
The Sidwell Friends Board of Trustees signed an agreement to buy the Washington Home property in September 2015 and closed on the acquisition on December 15, 2016. This purchase will allow the School to have all students and teachers, PK–12, on a single campus for the first time since 1963, when the Lower School moved to Bethesda.
In September 2016, the Board of Trustees agreed to purchase 3939 Wisconsin Avenue, known as the Johnson Building, from Fannie Mae; the School closed on this purchase on November 30, 2016. The property, which the School had previously owned but sold in 1945, will be leased back to Fannie Mae at least through the end of 2018. Fannie Mae has an option to lease the property for a third year if needed as the organization transitions to its new offices in downtown DC.
Proposed plans for possible uses of both properties are in the early development stage and are contingent on zoning approval and philanthropic support. The School has recently completed a strategic planning process to determine the future of the two sites and is currently developing a campus master plan.
My parents met at Friends 84 years ago when it was located on Eye Street, and as a student I played on athletic fields across Wisconsin Avenue. No matter the location, Sidwell Friends has remained grounded in Quaker values and high education standards. Unifying the campuses again will strengthen the School's ability to better serve students for generations to come. – Terry Eakin '62
September 2015: Board approves the final terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement with the Washington Home.
February 23, 2015: Final ANC 3F meeting to gain endorsement for the purchase of the Washington Home.
March 1, 2016: DC Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing held for special exception application (for a school to be operated on the new property).
Summer 2016: BZA approval is given and written order is completed.
September 10, 2016: Board approves the final terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement with Fannie Mae for 3939 Wisconsin Avenue and a 30-day study period commences.
September 2016: Board of Trustees’ strategic planning process commences.
November 30, 2016: Sidwell Friends takes ownership of 3939 Wisconsin Avenue NW.
December 15, 2016: Sidwell Friends takes ownership of the Washington Home property.
Summer 2017: Campus master planning process commences.
Fall 2017: The strategic plan is approved by the Board of Trustees, and the final report is released.