From Bethesda Beat
Council member Andrew Friedson, who represents Bethesda, pressed MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith in the letter on “unexplained changes in philosophy” not relayed to the council as school system leaders explore the idea of including a performing arts magnet program at the facility.
Woodward, on Old Georgetown Road, currently is a temporary home for Tilden Middle School and will later hold Northwood High School students while their school undergoes extensive renovations. When Northwood students move back to their permanent school, Woodward is expected to reopen as a new high school.
The County Council has allocated $120 million to the Woodward renovation project, but was unaware of Montgomery County Public Schools’ vision of an arts magnet program, Friedson said.
“In addition to the significant delay for Woodward alleviating overcrowding at [Walter Johnson] … this latest revelation appears to be yet another backtracking of commitments made to the community,” Friedson wrote. “… This process raises broader concerns about communication, sufficient public input, and questionable planning.”
In a statement, MCPS Chief Operating Officer Andrew Zuckerman said plans for Woodward are preliminary and “no decisions have been made yet with respect to the academic programming or site amenities.”
At a school board meeting this week, MCPS staff said Woodward, when reopened, could be the first high school without an athletic stadium, which also concerned Friedson.
If MCPS includes a traditional athletic stadium at Woodward, along with baseball and softball fields, the school would lose all of its available parking spaces and be forced to build a parking garage, estimated to cost $50 million, according to the school system’s staff.
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