Howard Middle School Renovation Project Earns 3 Top Design Awards

David T. Howard Middle School – Atlanta Public Schools’ historic building located in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood – has earned a bevy of design awards for its newly renovated, 21st century, state-of-the-art construction.

Howard Middle School has been selected to receive the 2021 Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s Design Award of Excellence. The 43rd Annual Awards of Excellence ceremony will be held virtually on Tuesday, May 18, at 7 p.m.

In addition to the Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s Design award, the middle school has also received the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s top Revitalization/Renovation Deal of the Year Award as part of its annual “Best in Atlanta” Real Estate awards. In awarding Howard, the Atlanta Business Chronicle cited the District’s intense effort to respect the history of the building and the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood and the Operations Department’s efforts to work with school alumni. It also noted that while the school preserved numerous historic efforts – partly by referring to the use of a 90-year-old design for an addition from plans stored in the District’s archives – it has become a model for 21st-century education.

Howard T. Middle School will also receive the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation‘s Marguerite Williams Award, which recognizes the preservation project that made the greatest impact on historic preservation in the state of Georgia, as voted on by the Georgia Trust Board of Trustees. The awards ceremony will be held Saturday, Oct. 9, in Macon.

“We are honored that the Howard Middle School project has been recognized in the industry with awards from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Atlanta Urban Design Commission,” said Jere J. Smith, director of Capital Improvements for Atlanta Public Schools. “For your work to be acknowledged by your peers and colleagues is incredibly gratifying. It was a pleasure to work with a dedicated and talented project team consisting of Stevens & Wilkinson with Lord Aeck & Sargent, architects, Parrish Construction Group, and Danny Gutlay, project manager.”

With land donated by David T. Howard, a former slave, Atlanta businessman and noted philantropist, the school first opened as an elementary building in 1923 and later as a high school, with Martin Luther King Jr., Maynard Jackson, Walt Frazier, and Vernon Jordan among its famous alumni. Howard Middle School eventually closed in 1976. Prior to being renovated, the old building was about 100,000 square feet, complete with cracks in the structure and bricks that had fallen away.

Now, the nearly two-year, $46-million makeover combines almost 114,000 square feet of renovation with 94,179 square feet of new construction to create a modern school for more than 1,000 students in grades six through eight. The school also features an elevator, as well as science, technology and art labs.

KIPP Woodson Park Academy, with a campus that includes a YMCA Early Learning Center and a community health facility run by Whitefoord Inc., was also featured among finalists for the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Revitalization/Renovation Deal of the Year Award.

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