Known historically as the Ulysses S. Grant School, the 1882 building was listed on the National Register in 2007. Currently known as the magnet liberal arts high school School Without Walls, the property adjacent to George Washington University was recently renovated. Then, the 2011 earthquake damaged much of the masonry above the roof line.


As part of the restoration process, WEI completely restored approximately 82 large existing exterior window units scheduled to remain, which included complete lead paint removal and restoration of all existing window frames, jamb extensions, weight pockets, casings, and sills in place. Several highly damaged windows were replicated exactly to match the remaining historic frames and sash. Existing window restoration was a key component in returning the Grant School to its original intended use while maintaining historical accuracy for the housing of class rooms, multipurpose rooms, hallways and offices. The project received the Washington DC area AGC Sustainable Design/Build Project Award for 2010 based on the adaptive use of the historic building.

Following the earthquake, WEI was asked back to reconstruct 4 chimneys and perform structural masonry repairs in the central tower. First and foremost was the need for safety precautions due to unknown conditions within the structure. All tasks required temporary shoring and extensive fall protection for the crew. Also prior to starting work in an area, the field personnel installed netting below the work in progress to prevent uncontrolled falling of debris from the building. Crews worked with shoring or forms in place until the area was structurally sound. Cracks and unstable masonry were repaired on the exterior and interior to reinstate the integrity of the structure. WEI installed heliacal ties in all areas for reinforcement, in addition to structural ring steel in the interior of the bell tower. While there was structural damage to the building, fortunately, most of the masonry units were salvageable. Broken units were replaced with bricks that matched in color, texture, and physical properties.