The Franklin School at K and 13th Streets, NW is an architectural gem embedded in a vast matrix of sterile office buildings.  The school’s history of great service to this city contrasts with its high rise neighbors filled with squadrons of high powered, high priced lobbyists whose primary mission is influence peddling of the highest order and service to themselves.The Franklin School’s mission, as an academy or a model shelter for homeless people, served purposes totally antithetical to its wheeler-dealer neighbors.  Is it any wonder that the latter - - mercantile pirates and corporate raiders - -  have trained their binoculars on Franklin for “redevelopment” probably as another office building or “boutique hotel.”The Philistines who desecrate magnificent structures like Franklin, inside and out, epitomize some of the worst acts of architectural vandalism in this city.  One nearby example was the demolition of most of the old Columbia Hospital for Women, a magnificent Mediterranean villa in the West End.  When they started, the developers had The Venus de Milo; when they finished, all that was left was her belly-button.The Franklin School claims special preservation attention in this city as the twin sister to the Charles Sumner Museum School.  Both were designed by inspired architect Adolf Cluss, and are two architectural jewels.  Sumner was saved from demolition, but only by sacrificing the magnificent Magruder School, adjacent to Sumner and virtually a part of it, to the developers.  Franklin School, an architectural survivor like Sumner, should be preserved for academic use and no other.

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