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There’s no better way to highlight the superiority of a new school building than to leave the old one standing. And the now-vacant Dunbar High School on New Jersey Avenue NW, built in 1977, makes the new Dunbar High School next door on N Street look pretty darn good. Mayor Vince Gray (Dunbar ’59) is currently presiding over a two-hour ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new building, which is on the site the old-old Dunbar occupied from 1917 to 1977. (The original Dunbar, founded in 1870, was America’s first public high school for black students.)
Ada C. Banks attended that old-old Dunbar, graduating in the class of 1934. She’s in the auditorium of the new Dunbar now, watching the dedication.
So how does the new Dunbar differ from her memories of the old school?
“Boy,” she says, pausing to relish the moment. “It’s like another world.”
Click on the photo below for a visual tour of the new Dunbar, post-$125 million renovation, as well as a few shots of the still-standing old school: