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Howard High School of Technology, Revitalizing the Historic 1927 School

New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
Wilmington, DE
105,000 sf

Built as the first secondary school for African Americans in Delaware, Howard High School played an important role in the Civil Rights movement in Wilmington as an integral part of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Brown v. Board of Education. "The school stands as a symbol of the struggle made by the NAACP to desegregate public education and the Court’s finding that state governments could not maintain racially segregated schools."* Because of its significant social, political and architectural history, the school was designated as a National Historic Landmark on April 5, 2005.

While the building is rich with history throughout its lifetime, the renovations endeavored to focus on two specific periods for historic appropriateness. Where architectural elements were to be maintained, repaired or replaced, they would be in keeping with the original 1920’s construction. Paint, stain and flooring finishes that evolved over time were redone to recall the school’s “period of significance,” the 1950’s. This period references the Brown v. Board of Education decision, for which the school was associated, and for which it received its National Historic Landmark status.

Moreover, several new features have been incorporated into the building for programmatic and technical functions. These elements are intended to complement the original design, while using contemporary materials and detailing. Upgrades and improvements include modernization of all classrooms, both standard and career tech, as well as performance improvements to the theater. All building mechanical, electrical, life safety, security and technology systems have been replaced. The building envelope was stabilized with new roofing and historically appropriate, energy efficient windows. The renovation now allows for full handicapped accessibility throughout the Howard campus.


The links below show additional photos and information about our project at Howard High School of Technology


The links below provide more detailed information about the history and importance of this Wilmington landmark.


* Page 19; USDI/NPS NRHP Registration Form (Rev. 8-86); HOWARD HIGH SCHOOL; National Register of Historic Places Registration Form

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