McKinley Middle School

Washington, District of Columbia

  • FIRM

    Quinn Evans Architects


    District of Columbia Department of General Services

  • AREA

    62,000 sq.ft.





The District of Columbia Public Schools’ envisioned creating a state-of-the-art STEM middle school within a vacant, historic classroom wing. The result is one of the city’s most successful and inspired adaptive reuse projects, earning DCPS its first LEED-CI Platinum certification for a building renovation. McKinley Middle School showcases advanced instructional technology, ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY340COST PER SQ FT$150.00CITATIONMiddle School CitationFEATURED IN2015 Architectural Portfolio learning environments, sustainable construction, and the innovative use of contemporary, affordable materials.
McKinley Middle School features 60,000 square feet of flexible classrooms, laboratories and student galleries within a circa-1926 Neo-Georgian wing on the western edge of the McKinley High School campus in northeast Washington, D.C. This stately structure now houses a lively and robust learning environment that focuses on project-based learning in science and technology and emphasizes interdisciplinary and cross-cultural learning, critical thinking, collaboration, personal achievement and inspiration for lifelong learning. The STEM middle school program is the first of its kind in the city.
The school’s technology and furnishings support mobile computing and multiple classroom and laboratory configurations. Classroom design, lighting, acoustics, and voice amplification are designed to enhance communications in active, project-based learning environments. An emphasis on transparency includes large expanses of glass along hallways for views into laboratory spaces, inspiring students and fostering interdisciplinary learning.
Other highlights of the design-build project:
• Spacious student galleries, with hallways designed to showcase student work with display cases, digital signage, and a variety of video media formats.
• An engineering lab with overhead distribution of compressed air and power, mobile workstations, and lab tables that students can use while standing or sitting.
• Creative use of materials, including custom-designed CNC milled wainscot panels depicting molecular patterns and 3form illuminated paneling.
• Bold graphic design, including a vibrant visual identity for the school and large-scale images of inventors and icons of science and technology.