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WSG Donation


Building Bridges Across the River has received a $1 million gift from WC Smith, a Washington, DC-based commercial real estate developer, to support development and construction of Phase IV of THEARC.

The new building will be home to the Washington School for Girls (WSG), a tuition-free school that educates girls from grades 3-8. The school has been divided between two locations, including one at THEARC, where it is one of 14 nonprofit resident partners.

Groundbreaking for Phase IV will occur in the spring of 2024, with delivery of the building projected for November 2025.

Upon completion, the building will provide WSG a unified campus. Students in grades 3-5 will join school mates in grades 6-8, who currently attend class at THEARC. The younger grades will benefit from the other nonprofits on THEARC campus in arts, education, health and recreation. 

Among the features of the 33,000 square foot new school will be a science lab, yoga/fitness room, library, art studio and café. The school is designed to be LEED Gold certified, with a green roof, solar panels and bio-retention pond.

In 1997 Chris Smith, WC Smith’s Chairman and CEO, founded Building Bridges Across the River to build and manage THEARC.

When announcing the donation, Smith said “The Washington School for Girls offers a top-notch education for our young students. We’re thrilled that our donation to Building Bridges will help unite the campuses and expand access to THEARC to more young people.”

Commenting on the donation, Building Bridges President Rahsaan Bernard said “This contribution is a vital piece in our effort to bring all of Washington School for Girls under one roof at THEARC. WSG has been a stalwart partner with Building Bridges, and I’m excited to strengthen our relationship with this new building and resources. I can’t wait to welcome all the students when the new school opens.”