SSOE | Stevens & Wilkinson Receives Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Award for the David T. Howard Middle School Renovation and Addition

ATLANTA, Georgia, October 29, 2021 – SSOE | S&W (, a global project delivery firm for architecture, engineering, and construction management, is proud to announce that Atlanta Public Schools’ new David T. Howard Middle School received The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2021 Marguerite Williams Award.

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country’s leading statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. The Trust works for the preservation and revitalization of Georgia’s diverse historic resources and advocates, their appreciation, and protection and use. The Marguerite Williams Award is presented annually for the project that has had the greatest impact on preservation in the state.

“We knew this project would be important when we were awarded the contract, and it is thrilling that the building has been recognized by the Georgia Trust with the Marguerite Williams Award,” said Bill Polk, AIA, Principal and Architect of the firm’s Building Design Group. “This is a great tribute to Atlanta Public Schools, the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, and the entire project team.”

Located in the heart of the city’s growing Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, the school, which originally opened in 1923, was built on land donated by its namesake, David Tobias Howard, one of the city’s first African American millionaires and founder of Atlanta’s first Black-owned bank. Since its opening, prominent graduates of the school include Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., former New York Knicks point guard Walt Frazier, the City of Atlanta’s first African American Mayor Maynard Jackson, and 1956 Olympic Gold medalist, Mildred McDaniel.

After many years of disuse, Atlanta Public School officials sought to breathe new life into this prominent neighborhood landmark. Undergoing a significant restoration process, the project scope included the renovation of the existing four-story classroom building and gymnasium into new classrooms, as well as the addition of a cafeteria, a media center, auditorium, administration suite, and additional classrooms and labs.

“Great care was taken to design sensitively around the existing structure,” continued Polk. “The team worked hard to successfully highlight the school’s historic attributes while also creating a new identity for a modern middle school. Additionally, the site design activates the neighborhood’s unique urban setting and connects several pedestrian paths and bike trails that have come to define this area of the city.”

SSOE | S&W, in collaboration with Lord Aeck Sargent, worked in conjunction with Atlanta Public Schools, the David T. Howard Alumni Association, and key project stakeholders on this renovation and addition. The building, which encompasses more than 200,000-square feet, sits on 7.4-acres of land.

“When you consider the number of preservation projects constructed in the state of Georgia each year as well as the number of projects submitted for consideration, to win in this category is a huge feat,” states Kirk Marchisen, AIA, LEED AP, Principal and Architecture Department Manager of the firm’s Building Design Group. “This project was not only a labor of love, but a true testament to the hard work of the entire team. This award showcases the immense effort that went into making this project a huge success.”

To date, the  David T. Howard Middle School project has also won a design awards from the Georgia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Georgia), and the Atlanta Urban Design Commission.

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