Hilltop Campus Stormwater Management Master Plan

Washington, DC
Key Elements
  • Holistic stormwater management
  • Educational and hands-on training opportunities
  • ACEC/MW 2024 Honor Award

The Hilltop Campus, owned by the D.C. Department of General Services (DGS), is a 28-acre campus that includes the Spingarn School, Phelps High School, Browne Educational Campus, Two Rivers Charter School, DC Street Car Site, Swing Site, and associated open space and roadways.

As part of the planning phase of the D.C. Infrastructure Academy (DCIA) initiative to renovate the historic Spingarn School, DGS recognized an opportunity to explore stormwater management at a campus scale as opposed to a site scale – one of the first times DGS sought to do so. To support this effort, Nitsch provided civil engineering and planning services to develop the Hilltop Campus Stormwater Management Master Plan. The Plan offers a holistic vision and long-term goals for managing stormwater on campus and identifies opportunities for considering stormwater improvements at the campus scale.

The Hilltop Campus Stormwater Management Master Plan recommends a phased approach for treating and managing stormwater for the campus over time and identifies opportunities to incorporate voluntary stormwater improvements projects at locations throughout the 28-acre campus. The Plan also supports the academic mission for the Hilltop Campus in which all projects should consider educational opportunities or partnerships, particularly with respect to performance monitoring of green infrastructure and/or training for operation and maintenance of stormwater facilities.

The Plan provides guidelines for obtaining Stormwater Retention Credits (SRCs) by leveraging new green infrastructure solutions as part of regulated projects and considering voluntary green infrastructure retrofit projects (onsite and offsite). This effort would enable DGS to participate in Washington, D.C.’s Stormwater Retention Credit Trading Program, in which excess SRCs from projects that have met their regulatory requirements can be applied to future projects in the watershed or traded by DGS with adjacent landowners. Through this system, there are developed incentives for DGS and other landowners who operate on the Hilltop Campus to construct projects that contribute to overall stormwater management goals while generating additional SRCs for use and trade.

The Hilltop Campus Stormwater Master Plan creates a vision of a campus that holistically manages stormwater and provides a more sustainable, beneficial environment. It was recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Metropolitan Washington (ACEC/MW) with a 2024 Engineering Excellence Honor Award.

“The DCIA project aims to train District residents for careers in infrastructure related fields such as construction, energy, and telecommunications. As part of this project, DGS saw an opportunity to turn the 28-acre Hilltop Campus into a model of sustainability for the District…. Nitsch Engineering met our expectations for performance and creativity!”

Program Manager, District of Columbia Department of General Services

Key Collaborators

Owner: D.C. Department of General Services
Architects: VMDO and Bell Architects
Landscape Architect: Landscape Architecture Bureau
Archaeologist: Elizabeth Anderson Comer/Archaeology