May 1, 2024

Contact: Erica Stanley

[email protected]

The Washington School for Girls Breaks Ground on Expanded Campus at THEARC in Partnership with Building Bridges Across the River

Joint $25 million fundraising effort and WC Smith’s pro-bono development services make “Building Dreams Campaign” a reality.

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Washington School for Girls (WSG) – an all-scholarship independent Catholic School serving girls in third through eighth grade, primarily from DC's Wards 7 and 8 – broke ground on its 33,000 square-foot, $25 million expansion at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC), in partnership with Building Bridges Across the River.

Currently, WSG's student population is split between two campuses with middle schoolers attending classes at THEARC and third through fifth graders attending at the View campus on Morris Road SE. The new building’s size and design will allow for the instruction and advancement for all 100 current students – and up to 150 students in the future – to take place in one location, and the adaption of staffing and schedules to meet students’ learning needs while creating the opportunity for cross-grade experiences.

“We’re thrilled to build a home of our own, an innovative and intentional space that sparks our students’ joy of learning, is reflective of our mission, and will allow us to better prepare our girls for success in high school and equip them with the skills, the values, and the confidence to thrive for the years beyond,” Beth Reaves, DBA, President, Washington School for Girls, said. “The new building will transform our girls’ experience by creating a greater sense of community, allowing our younger students to join with older students each day under one roof, with cross-grade connections, learning and prayer opportunities and a greater sense of sisterhood.”

A combined fundraising effort by WSG and Building Bridges Across the River is in its final stages of securing the $25 million needed for construction costs from generous donors, who can be viewed here and here.

The project has received New Market Tax Credit allocations from Partners for the Common Good, Truist Community Capital and Harbor Bankshares.

WC Smith provided pro-bono development services; WCS Construction is leading the construction efforts. WSG’s new home will be the fourth major structure at THEARC, providing students with continued access to enjoy the benefits of the multi-sector collaboration between 14 nonprofit partners in one centralized location.

“Expanding access to THEARC’s best-in-class facilities, programs and partnerships in arts and culture, economic opportunity, education, recreation, health, and well-being to more girls of color is at the heart of our work to remove barriers, promote unity, and celebrate the vibrant culture with the East of the River community,” Rahsaan Bernard, President and CEO, Building Bridges Across the River said. “We are proud to work with WSG – an anchor partner at THEARC since its inception – to help build a high-quality facility that matches the high-quality educational opportunities the school delivers and what its students deserve.”

The construction plans call for a three-story building between THEARC's east and west buildings, opening in the rear onto green space and THEARC Farm. Along with 14 bright and spacious classrooms, highlights will include a multipurpose space serving as a cafeteria and auditorium, an expansive library/media lab, a science lab, a makerspace/STEM lab, and a flexible art/music/dance area. This new building will allow WSG to grow the student body, the Graduate Support program, and the alumni engagement and health and wellness programs by providing additional dedicated space.

The building will also offer an important connection to the natural environment with access to an outdoor learning space and tying the curriculum to the THEARC Farm.  With the building design, WSG has committed to the highest standards of environmental stewardship with solar panels, a green roof and will seek LEED Silver certification.

“Putting shovels in the ground for phase four of THEARC to benefit every WSG student and raise the bar for the school as a whole is remarkable, and such an impactful milestone in our vision for the space,” Chris Smith, Chairman and CEO of WC Smith, and founder and Board Chair, Building Bridges Across the River said. “This building is not only about vastly improved functionality, but about creating a vibrant environment that will inspire, uplift, and connect within WSG’s larger mission of equity. We’re elated to do this project at THEARC.”

Sanchez Palmer is the architect for WSG’s expansion, which is expected to be completed by November 2025.

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About the Washington School for Girls

The Washington School for Girls is an all-scholarship independent Catholic School educating students in grades 3-8 primarily from DC's Wards 7 and 8. We provide an excellent and equitable academic program in a supportive environment that engages families and the community in our students' and graduates' social, emotional, and spiritual growth. We help our students to become the confident, capable, and courageous young learners they are meant to be.

About Building Bridges Across the River

Building Bridges Across the River’s goal is to reduce structural barriers to social and economic mobility to build a more equitable city, while primarily focusing on communities East of the Anacostia River. Our work bridges communities and creates intentional and sustainable pathways to equitable opportunities around three core program areas: arts and culture, economic opportunity, health and wellbeing.

About WC Smith

WC Smith ( is a Washington, DC-based multidisciplinary real estate firm, providing integrated property development and property management services to the Washington metropolitan area for 55 years. Since our founding in 1968, we have built communities across all 8 wards of Washington that uniquely combine the city’s long-term vision for growth with our residents’ vision for how a neighborhood best serves their needs and desires.