Montgomery County Public Schools has narrowed a list of potential sites for a new elementary school in the Bethesda area to three.
The remaining three sites under consideration are:
WMAL on Greentree Road
Two White Flint properties that have been called White Flint North and White Flint South.
The three remaining possible locations are all on the same sites as other building projects, as the school district is pushing for more innovative school buildings that take advantage of compact sites.
Montgomery County Public Schools is studying where to open another elementary school in about six years to relieve crowding in the Walter Johnson and Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school clusters.
Seth Adams, the director of MCPS’ Department of Facilities Management, announced Tuesday at the start of a community meeting at North Bethesda Middle School that the list of 10 choices has been cut to six.
More than 100 people attended the meeting to hear the latest on the search for a school site.
The four sites being removed from the list are Ayrlawn Park on Oakmont Avenue, Alta Vista on Beech Avenue, Rocking Horse on Macon Road, and Montrose Center on Academy Way. Adams said there are challenges with those sites — particularly their current and future use.
The remaining sites under consideration (some of which have buildings now used for other reasons or unused) are:
Grosvenor Elementary School on Grosvenor Lane (a current holding facility for school construction projects)
Kensington Elementary School on Detrick Avenue
Lynnbrook Center on Lynnbrook Drive in East Bethesda (site of a former school)
WMAL on Greentree Road
Two White Flint properties. The last two properties have been called White Flint South and White Flint North, but there was some confusion at the end of Tuesday’s meeting about whether the correct address was considered for one of them. MCPS and DLR Group, a school design firm helping with the site selection, will work on preparing a summary of the correct site, if needed.
Montgomery County Public Schools has released an updated list of potential sites for a new elementary school in the Bethesda area. The recommendations are part of an elementary school capacity study for the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Walter Johnson high school clusters.
The sites are:
Alta Vista Elementary School — Proposed development includes a three-story addition to a school on an MCPS-owned lot. The school is a former school that is currently closed but still owned by MCPS. There is space for only 70 parking spaces and limited playground space. The small 3.53-acre property does not have space for a baseball field and could not accommodate additional expansions in the future. Address: 5615 Beech Ave.
Ayrlawn Elementary School & Local Park — Existing school that closed in 1982 and is still owned by MCPS. Proposed development includes using a “small portion” of the adjacent park for parking. There are two softball fields on the property and room for about 96 parking spaces. Address: 5650 Oakmont Ave.
Grosvenor Elementary School — Existing facility that is currently used as a temporary school while other schools undergo major renovations or expansions. The site can accommodate about 100 parking spaces and playground space. The biggest drawback, according to MCPS, is it would no longer be available as a “holding school.” Address: 5701 Grosvenor Lane.
Kensington Elementary School — The school would sit on a 4-acre lot on Detrick Avenue. The site has room for 110 parking spaces, but not for a baseball field or play areas. Address: 10400 Detrick Ave.
Lynnbrook Center — Existing facility that is currently closed, but is still owned by MCPS. A portion of the building could be used as a day care center and the current site has a softball field and tennis courts. Outdoor play spaces would have to be split between the two ends of the school. There would be about 110 parking spaces. Address: 8001 Lynnbrook Drive.
Montrose Center — Existing facility that is currently closed, but is still owned by MCPS. There is space to accommodate 100 parking spots, but not outdoor play spaces. Address: 12301 Academy Way.
Rocking Horse Road Center — The 18.7-acre site is large enough to accommodate a multitude of building designs. There would be 92 parking spaces and a softball field. The center is used by MCPS central office staff. Address: 4910 Macon Road.
White Flint North Site — The site is a bit constrained, according to MCPS, and would not have adequate room for outdoor play spaces. There would be approximately 100 parking spaces and separated student drop-off loops for buses and vehicles. Address: 11410 Woodglen Drive.
White Flint South Site — Another small site, there would not be adequate room for parking and play spaces. The property “attempts to utilize some of the acreage that was once part of the mall that has been demolished,” MCPS documents say. Address: 11301 Rockville Pike.
WMAL — On Greentree Road, the 4-acre property would not have space for a softball diamond, but could accommodate up to 114 parking spaces. Address: 7115 Greentree Road.
SKEPTICAL CROWD FILLS TWO ROOMS FOR BOUNDARY ANALYSIS MEETING
Montgomery County Public Schools had its largest boundary analysis meeting yet on Thursday night at Walter Johnson High School. A spokesperson for MCPS told MyMCMedia that about 650 people showed up to the meeting.
There were so many people, that the group was split up into two rooms so that two boundary meetings were happening at the same time. One large group met in Walter Johnson’s gymnasium, the other group met in the cafeteria.
Like previous meetings, attendees were put in small groups and they heard from leaders of WXY Architecture, the contractors conducting the MCPS Boundary Analysis Study. Throughout the evening, people sat in small groups and were given opportunities to talk amongst themselves.
At the end of the meeting, attendees were polled about the information they learned that evening. The results of the polls indicate that many parents are still skeptical about MCPS’ boundary study.
In the gymnasium, 44% of people said that they were still skeptical about the information that was presented that evening. In the cafeteria, this was also the most common answer, receiving 61% of the votes.
When polled about their view on undertaking a boundary study, in the gymnasium the most common answer, receiving 49% of the votes was “I am still skeptical of this process and wonder whether it needs to be done at this time.” This was also the most popular choice for the large group in the cafeteria, receiving 68% of the votes.
The final polling question asked attendees to rate on a 1 to 10 scale whether they agreed their concerns were adequately heard: in the gymnasium 30% voted “1,” meaning they didn’t agree at all.
This meeting was the last in a series of meetings MCPS organized about the boundary meeting as a part of the first phase of the analysis. The project will soon enter its second phase, and WXY Architecture will start testing ideas and metrics.
Tweet Recap of Walter Johnson Boundary Meeting
Here’s are some Tweets that recap what happened at Thursday night’s meeting:
THREAD: I’m at the @MCPS boundary analysis meeting tonight at Walter Johnson High and there are hundreds of people here—so many that two meetings are happening: one in the cafeteria, the other in the gym. For now, I’m in the gym. There’s 35 tables filled with people in here.
Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) Division of Construction is wrapping up the Schematic Design phase and beginning the Design Development phase for the reopening of Charles W. Woodward High School project.
In previous work sessions, in which the designs of building and site amenities were discussed, they received a lot of helpful feedback and input from various stakeholders and agencies. In an effort to continue community engagement, they will hold another community work session to share how the project is developing, and what has been discussed and considered with other agencies.
Reopening Project Community Work Session Date: Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 Time: 6:30 pm Location: Tilden Middle School Media Center 11211 Old Georgetown Road Rockville, Maryland 20852
If you have any questions regarding this process please contact Ms. Shiho Shibasaki, project manager, at 240-314-1000
As a former Woodward Wildcat, it gives FOWF executive director Amy Ginsburg great pleasure to announce that the Board of Education last week approved a $1.83 billion school construction plan that includes reopening Woodward High School.
The board also approved a resolution to begin the site selection process for a new elementary school in the Walter Johnson Cluster in the spring of 2018.
The drafted Rock Spring growth plan could bring as many as 423 new students to the crowded schools of the Walter Johnson cluster. Previously approved projects in the area could yield another 135.
The drafted White Flint 2 Sector Plan could add 690 more students, and another 149 could arrive courtesy of the drafted Grosvenor-Strathmore plan, according to county estimates.
Concerned parents in Bethesda and Rockville are wondering where the new students will go.
“[T]here’s no place to put them,” PTA representative Wendy Calhoun told County Council members last month.
County Council members, who are considering all three long-range growth plans at once, often stress that many new homes will take years or even decades to appear, and some projects might never get off the ground. However, they agree with parent advocates and Montgomery County Public Schools officials that the plans should say something about the need for new schools.
Now, consensus has formed around an approach that proponents say will give planning officials more flexibility to negotiate with landowners. The language that council members are expected to insert in all three plans states that every property undergoing development review should be evaluated for a potential school site.
From Bethesda Beat Project to increase school capacity by 350 students slated for completion in 2020
BY BETHANY RODGERS Published:
Preliminary designs for the expansion at Luxmanor Elementary School in Potomac VIA MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL
Architects on Thursday showed off preliminary plans for a three-story expansion at Luxmanor Elementary School in Potomac.
The project will increase the school’s size by about 20,000 square feet and raise its capacity from 411 to 758 students, according to officials. The Montgomery County Board of Education on Thursday signed off on the early plans for the addition and expansion.
The project, which will add 10 classrooms, is currently scheduled for completion in early 2020, according to the school system’s facilities master plan.
The school sits on about 6.5 acres, which is less land than schools usually have. Designers opted to make the most of the space by adding a third level to the structure. The planners also wanted to save as many trees as possible to preserve the heavily forested feel of the site.
Architectural plans for a building combining Tilden Middle School and Rock Terrace School show a multi-part structure with shared recreation and learning spaces.
“We want to make this building one building, but we also want each school to have its own identity,” architect Paul Falkenbury told members of the Montgomery County school board this week.
The initial plans show Tilden Middle occupying a three-story space, while Rock Terrace would claim another portion of the roughly 235,000-square-foot building in Rockville. The middle school would be arranged around a central courtyard to provide natural lighting, and the building would allow for a future 12-classroom addition.
Tilden Middle and Rock Terrace would have separate entrances, different window designs and distinctive exterior masonry to set them apart from one another, Falkenbury said.
The building’s two sides would connect through a shared space that would include gym space and special and alternative education areas.
Plan for new Tilden Middle School and Rock Terrace School. Credit: Samaha Associates.
The board of education gave unanimous approval to the early designs for the project at 6300 Tilden Lane.
Rock Terrace Principal Kathy Lertora said the preliminary plans line up with her school’s mission, to serve students who have a range of cognitive disabilities. Plans for a greenhouse, culinary arts space and woodworking area would support Rock Terrace’s programs, Lertora said.
Tilden Middle Principal Irina LaGrange acknowledged that the project has seen some pushback but said the designs incorporate input from the community.
“We’re confident as we continue to work through the process, feasible solutions will continue to be explored to design an amazing school for staff, students and the communities that represent both of our schools,” said LaGrange, whose school of about 900 students is now based at 11211 Old Georgetown Road in Rockville.
The school board’s 2015 decision to collocate Tilden Middle and Rock Terrace drew opposition from residents in the surrounding Luxmanor neighborhood, who claimed the proposal would create too much traffic. Some parents were also uncomfortable dividing a building between middle schoolers and Rock Terrace’s roughly 90 students, who range in age from 11 to 21.
However, MCPS staff said the buildings will run independently and both schools will benefit from the shared spaces.
The new building will replace the holding school that currently exists on the property, and MCPS officials are shooting to complete the project by August 2020.
Proposed entrance designs for Tilden Middle School and Rock Terrace School. Credit: Samaha Associates.
From Bethesda Beat — Superintendent forming study group on best use of additional school space
School officials are planning a series of information-sharing meetings on the reopening of Woodward High School in Rockville.
Superintendent Jack Smith has called for a study group to discuss using the high school to alleviate overcrowding at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda and other area high schools. The group will also look at addressing capacity issues by moving alternative and vocational programs to nontraditional spaces, like commercial buildings, according to a Montgomery County Public Schools explanation.
Parents can learn more about the study group, which will meet over the spring, at meetings scheduled for Feb. 23 and March 2 at Tilden Middle School in Rockville. The sessions will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria.
The study group will be comprised of cluster coordinators, high school representatives, students, MCPS central office staff and advocates. The group will offer guidance as the superintendent crafts recommendations for the Board of Education.