Located on C Street in the southeast section of Washington, D.C., Payne Elementary School is pre-school through 5th grade in Ward 6 that has been serving students and members of the local community for more than 117 years. The original 83,800 sq. ft. building was built in 1896, now 68,000 sq. ft. after a fire, it serves as a D.C. flagship school for deaf, hearing impaired, and special needs children. MMD incorporated a responsive design that reprogrammed spaces within the existing footprint of the building, incorporated curriculum-centered graphics, and provided the programmatic support for special needs learning.
All colors, materials, spatial organization, and furniture selections were carefully and purposely chosen, taking into consideration the preferences and optimal learning environments for special needs children. Environmental graphics complement the school curriculum and inspire learning in the hallways and communal spaces throughout the school. To complement the school's mission and accommodating academic program, Marshall Moya Design designed the school with ADA upgrades, hearing impaired educational accommodations, American Sign Language requirements, and the right sizing of classrooms. The classrooms are also equipped with induction loops, or electromagnetic communication detection systems that connect to hearing aids and amplify sound inside a classroom. The renovation includes the addition of a connecting bridge and an elevator, linking both wings and making all levels ADA accessible.
The project included an upgrade in finishes and HVAC systems for the dining and auditorium, and the incorporation of sustainable technologies and green initiatives designed to achieve LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).