WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A struggling high school in Southeast Washington is the latest public school in the District to undergo a major renovation.

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray said at a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday that the modernized Ballou Senior High School will be “one of the finest academic facilities in the United States.”

Once the $120 million project is done, Ballou will get multimedia data projectors, improved sound systems in classrooms and new computer and science labs. The building will also become more energy-efficient and come with a new gymnasium, swimming pool and football stadium.

The school’s well-known marching band also will receive a brand new recording studio.

“We’re letting our young people know that we believe in them, that we are investing in them, that they deserve … not just a state-of-the-art building, but they deserve a state-of-the-art education,” schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said.

D.C. Public Schools released two design photos on Twitter, giving a sneak peek at what the school will look like after the renovations.

Many students at Ballou live in poverty and struggle academically. On the city’s most recent standardized tests, only 22 percent of Ballou 10th-graders were proficient in math, and just 18 percent were proficient in reading.

Henderson said Ballou’s renovations will show students that the city is committed to their education.

“When they’re able to walk into a building in their own neighborhood, they don’t have to leave to get a quality education,” Henderson said.

Former mayor and current Councilmember Marion Barry also attended the groundbreaking.

The newly renovated school is scheduled to open in August 2014.

WNEW’s Matt DelSignore contributed to this report. Follow Matt and WNEW on Twitter.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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