The newly-renovated Doswell E. Brooks Elementary School in Capitol Heights, Md. opened its doors with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 24, displaying upgrades to the existing school and additional spaces to provide instructional classrooms and auxiliary learning areas.
Renovation of the school’s existing spaces included updated finishes, code compliant building systems, an automatic fire sprinkler system and water line upgrades.
“I love the new school,” principal Dr. Anita Stoddard told the AFRO. “Every time I go down a different hallway, it’s my favorite hallway.”
The school also added to existing kindergarten classroom areas and created a new media center was including supplemental support areas. Upgrades were also made to the electrical, mechanical, Internet, phone and CATV systems.
During the previous school year, students and staff were placed in the former Berkshire Elementary School building three miles away in Forestville, Md. while renovations took place.
“I think the facility looks great,” Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell told the AFRO. “They did a great job. I think the community support here is great. We got people today here that have never had kids in the school and that had kids in the school that haven’t been here for years now. They are still engaged with the school. It’s really fabulous to see so many people come together, and that’s really what the sense of community is all about. “
First opened in 1952, the school was named after Doswell E. Brooks, who served as the supervisor of Black schools for 34 years in Prince George’s County and oversaw 43 schools. In 1956, Brooks was appointed as the first African-American member of the Prince George’s County Board Of Education.
The school boasts approximately 356 students and 28 teachers, a student-teacher ratio of 13 to 1.
“It was a great turnout,” Stoddard told the AFRO. “Everyone was here. Community members, parents, residents, PTA members, everyone from the school system, my family, the architects and the construction folks all came out today to celebrate Doswell E. Brooks and I’m just so excited about it.”
“Its very clear that at Doswell E. Brooks that we have a really broad base community that supports this school … and these children in particular,” Maxwell told the AFRO.