Site Recommendation for New B-CC Middle School Heads Back to Board of Education
The board will hear a committee's recommendation on a proposed site for the new middle school April 28.
The Montgomery County Board of Education is expected to hear a recommendation on a proposed location for a new middle school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster April 28. A site selection committee has recommended the Rosemary Hills/Lyttonsville Local Park site for the proposed new school.
The board postponed hearing the recommendation at its March 28 meeting.
A proposal for the new school was set forth Oct. 15 by schools superintendent Jerry Weast as part of a series of recommendations to combat overcrowding in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster. Once a site is selected, a feasibility study to hash out options for constructing the new school will follow.
Westland Middle School, the only middle school that now serves students in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster, is already at capacity with close to 1,000 students and is expected to become overcrowded in coming years as enrollment numbers rise. The school is also located a long distance from many Chevy Chase neighborhoods.
In the interim period before the new middle school is built, how best to educate sixth graders at Chevy Chase and North Chevy Chase elementary schools has been a topic of debate. The two schools are the only ones in the county that educate sixth graders in elementary school settings, and sixth grade students there receive less instruction time and less class offerings than students who attend sixth grade at Westland.
The proposed new middle school is geared to encompass Chevy Chase sixth-graders.
The site selection committee was comprised of county officials, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Montgomery County Public Schools staff, Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations members, and officials from the Town of Chevy Chase, the Town of Somerset and the Village of Friendship Heights. The group evaluated ten site possibilities and expressed a preference for a site in the central or eastern portion of the cluster, since Westland is located towards the cluster’s extreme western end. Other criteria evaluated for the sites included physical condition, accessibility, availability and cost, along with meeting LEED environmental criteria when possible.
In recommending the Rosemary Hills/Lyttonsville Local Park – a site on the Silver Spring/Chevy Chase border that houses the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Community Center – the group noted that it provided a good geographical balance to Westland and is walkable from several residential communities. The middle school could be “co-located” with the existing community center on the site, the group suggested. “The Rosemary Hills/Lyttonsville Local Park site offers the best range of site characteristics including access, cost, availability, location, and consistency with LEED criteria,” the committee report read.
Read the committee’s full report here. The Board of Education’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 6p.m. April 28 at the Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville, and the middle school site recommendation agenda item is slated for 7:30 Directions and information about watching the meeting online or on TV is available on the Board of Education’s website.