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September 21, 2015

Land Sale to D.C. Private School to Shutter Nursing Home

The Washington Home, a venerable nonprofit care facility for elderly, infirm, and low-income patients, will close by the end of next year with the sale of its property to the elite private Sidwell Friends School, The Washington Post reports.

The deal has angered longtime residents of the Washington Home, the city's only inpatient hospice facility, and their families.

Officials at the 127-year-old, 200-room center, a favorite cause of former First lady Barbara Bush, said the $32.5-million deal will allow the charity to focus on in-home hospice care. "We feel we're going to serve many more people in [poor] communities when we have community-based services in the city rather than in our fortress" in Northwest Washington, board Chairwoman Sharon Casey said.

Sidwell Friends, which has educated the children of many wealthy Washington families and political leaders, including President Obama, purchased the six-acre site to consolidate its nearby main campus and its lower school, now situated outside the city.

Ellis Turner, Sidwell Friends associate head, said the nursing home has more than a year to develop plans for current residents and an option to lease back the property if the transition is not completed by late 2016. “We were assured that the Washington Home and its commitment to its mission to serve those in its community would not be affected,” he said.