U.S. General Services Administration


Saint Elizabeths Hospital is the nation's first mental institution, constructed in several phases beginning before the Civil War and continuing into the early twentieth century. The West Campus, which overlooks the Potomac River from a high bluff in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., consists of sixty-nine historic structures and the surrounding cultural landscape, which together represent the history and planning for treatment of mental illness in this country. St. Elizabeths was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990. Most buildings had been vacant for twenty years at the start of the project.


For the HSR project, WJE performed historical research at various government archives. The existing condition of each building was documented and evaluated, including interior, exterior, and structural materials and systems. To guide future rehabilitation, prioritized recommendations for the treatment and rehabilitation of significant elements were developed.   For the first adaptive reuse project on the campus, WJE developed construction drawings and specifications for ten buildings, including the design of building envelope restoration and structural rehabilitation. The building envelope work included brick, terra cotta, and stone masonry repair; slate, clay tile, and metal roofing replacement; repair and painting of exterior wood trim and porches; and restoration of original wood window and door systems. The structural work included reinforcing of original wood and iron structures as well as the design of new floor and roof assemblies to replace severely deterioration elements. Currently, WJE is providing construction phase support services.