Central Union Mission, founded in 1884 is the oldest social service agency in the nation’s capital serving the needs of homeless men and women with children with a multitude of programs and services. The Mission desired to relocate downtown while expanding their facilities. Over a period of seven years and multiple sites, cox graae + spack architects worked with them to find the right facility and assist in the complex support and review and approvals process, finally landing on the adaptive re-use of the historic Gales School. After over 20 years of abandonment and neglect this prominent Massachusetts Avenue Landmark was found virtually gutted and in dire straights with no roof, most of the internal floors missing and its exterior walls shored with steel braces. cg+s’s design approach was to maximize the existing structure, core and shell by: creatively assigning the Mission’s unique program to the best-use spaces remaining such as using the four large classrooms on each floor for dorm rooms and suites; open up the unused basement for critical new program space; retain and extend the two main stair cores; add a new fourth floor under the original roof volume by replacing the missing attic roof trusses with a new roof and floor structure. The four original massive chimneys were extensively damaged by the recent earthquake and substantial floor space and flexibility in design was gained on all floors below by removing them down to the foundations and replicating in detail them salvaged brick and lightweight back-up only above the roof and supportin g them on the new fourth floor structure. Strict historic preservation guidelines required complete exterior restoration and replication/replacement of missing historic elements. A compatible, yet contemporary, addition was designed to fulfill the program requirements for a full kitchen, storage, classroom and an office suite for a doctor, dentist and lawyer to serve the over 200 guests.