It’s official: Coding school General Assembly has moved its D.C. campus to a new location, occupying three full floors of space.
Paul Gleger, GA’s senior regional director of its D.C. and government sector, took me on a walk through of the new campus located at 509 7th St NW, which is within walking distance from the Gallery Place metro station. The 9,500-square-foot historic building in Chinatown features GA’s six classrooms, five conference rooms, two communal spaces and two staff offices taking up the second through fourth floors.
Gleger told Technical.ly that the new GA campus was once home to the first African American-owned bank in D.C. in 1867 and in 1875, the building served as the headquarters to the Second National Bank. In the 1910s, it served as a printing press, including printing of U.S. postage stamps (with a legend that one of the rarest stamps was printed in the building). It was also referenced in the records of the National Register of Historic Places.
“Since 1996, the first floor continues to be run by District Chophouse and Brewery, which is the oldest continually operating brewery in Washington, D.C.,” Gleger said. “We’re humbled by the history of the building and are honored to continue the story into the next chapter with the General Assembly community.”
Gleger said the construction took a little over four months and the build-out out project was led by Mandy Le, GA’s head of global real estate, in conjunction with a local architecture firm. Similar to all other GA campuses, the D.C. location features certain baseline materials including glass and wood, furniture from Vitra, custom furniture just for GA, writable walls and desks, chalk murals unique to the District by artist Casey John Opstad and open communal areas for students and staff.
Here’s another shot of Opstad’s work:
One of the classrooms is outfitted with GA’s Connected Classroom equipment, enabling the coding school to deliver a combination of in-person and remote instruction to a classroom with students across several campuses at the same time. When GA was in search of a new location, which Gleger said started more than a year ago despite 1776’s departure from 1133 15th St NW in December, the company considered a lot of options.
“We were looking for a campus that would meet all of our growing needs, including flexibility in classroom sizes and access to more transportation options. The location is also a hub for many of the leading technology companies in the area, including Facebook, Yelp, Blue State Digital, and many others, placing GA closer to current and future hiring partners,” Gleger said.
The new location is in the heart of D.C., situated across the street from Hotel Monaco, which used to be the original U.S. Post Office headquarters, the National Portrait Gallery, and is on the same block as the Shakespeare Theater. Capital One Arena is right up the street and the National Archives is nearby, as well.
“The three floors will provide much more movement throughout the space. Our former location was a busy hub and we expect the new layout will contribute to even more energy on the campus. The three floors are entirely run by GA, with no other companies operating in the space. With two event spaces, we plan on organizing even more community programs, inviting our new neighbors and broader community to join us on campus for classes, workshops, and events,” Gleger said.
This is a bittersweet moment for the coding school. Since it first launched in the District in 2013 under a partnership with 1776 DC, GA has graduated more than 5,000 coders through its part-time and full-time program. For its career accelerating Immersive courses, 94 percent of our graduates found full-time employment in their field of study within 180 days, supported by 3,500 hiring partners in the D,C, Maryland and Virginia areas.
“With exterior GA signage for the first time, we’re looking forward to having more street visibility as well,” Gleger said.
The campus officially opened April 29 for students, staff and instructors, and GA will be hosting a broader opening event for the community on May 17.