Francis L. Cardozo High School

Washington, D.C.


Hartman-Cox Architects

General Contractor
GCS Inc.

Heavy Commercial Window

Window Design Consultation
Randy Boardman, Graham Architectural Products Rep

Series 2200 Double-Hung, Series S6800 Fixed, Series S6500 Casement & Fixed

Help modernize a century-old high school, the longest continually-operating high school in Washington, D.C., through the design and manufacture of more than 1,000 historic replication windows.


A tight timeline and the need for National Park Service approval made this a challenging job for the Graham Architectural Products team.

“Graham is an excellent company. Everyone’s friendly and knowledgeable. In this day and age in this business, you don’t really have a lot of time for people who don’t know what they’re doing.”

Keith Walter, President, Heavy Commercial Window


When the US Green Building Council’s Maryland and National Capital Region Chapters went looking for a place to hold their 2014 DC NoVA MD Green School Summit, one location stood out above the rest: Francis L. Cardozo Senior High School, in Washington, D.C.

Built nearly a century ago and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Cardozo had undergone a dramatic renovation, reopening its doors in 2013 as a LEED Silver school. Adding to its strikingly fresh appearance were 1,100 Graham Architectural Products (GAP) windows – a mix of Series S2200 double hung, Series S6800 fixed, and Series S6500 casement & fixed windows.

The completed project was so extraordinary, the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office/Office of Planning gave it the Historic Preservation Review Board Chair’s Award, citing “its exceptional design work in restoration, rehabilitation and new construction affecting historic District property.”

Built in 1916, Cardozo was designed by William B. Ittner, referred to by one author as “the most influential man in school architecture in the United States.”

The building – the city’s longest continuously operating public high school – is a landmark in a city full of them. It sits on a two-square block parcel high on a hill, with breathtaking views of our nation’s capital and its monuments. But time had not been kind to it, and the District of Columbia Public Schools had not been able to maintain the building.

As a result, the necessary renovation was no small project. All told, it involved the complete modernization of 355,400 square feet of existing historic infrastructure and a 42,000-square-foot gymnasium addition. Compounding the challenge was the building’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and the need for National Park Service (NPS) approvals.

For window expertise, the design team turned to Graham because, as GAP window design consultant Randy Boardman explained, “Graham specializes in historic windows – AW-rated historic replication windows – and we do a lot of school work.”

Boardman was able to design a workable solution that featured custom panning designed and delivered by Graham. And the Graham manufacturing team was then able to overcome a tight timeline, one that Lee Becker, FAIA, of Hartman-Cox Architects described in one article as, “Start-to-finish, design and construction, 18 months.”

Even with time squeeze and the need for an NPS blessing, things went smoothly. As Boardman explained, “I deal with historic people all the time – National Park Service, Historic Preservation Review Board, the Fine Arts Commission, the Georgetown Board – all different people with different ideas, and we have submittals and mockups and struggles and challenges and tweaks … but this one, we put our mockup in, and they blessed it. We were just part of the solution.”

Keith Walter, president of Heavy Commercial Windows, agreed, saying, “It was a very historic job with a tight schedule and we knew we had to get things done, so everybody worked together to pull it out.”

Having partnered with GAP on a number of projects, nothing about the job surprised him. “Graham is an excellent company,” he said. “Everyone’s friendly and knowledgeable. In this day and age in this business, you don’t really have a lot of time for people who don’t know what they’re doing.”

Boardman wrapped up the discussion, saying, “Bottom line: This was a huge, complex job and even though it was a scramble, we helped to bring the project in on time. At Graham, we take good care of our clients. They get what they want, when they want it.”

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