Board Approves Amendments to Capital Improvements Program

November 19, 2010

   The Montgomery County Board of Education approved minor amendments to the Capital Improvements Programs (CIP) for Fiscal Year 2012, including an additional $8.64 million to replace aging heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and make other infrastructure improvements.

   The Board’s CIP also lays the foundation for future construction in areas of Montgomery County that are experiencing dramatic enrollment growth, including Rockville, Germantown and Bethesda-Chevy Chase.

    “We are facing unprecedented growth in Montgomery County Public Schools and this CIP amendment will help us prepare for much-needed school construction in the near future,” said Board of Education President Patricia O’Neill.

   Every two years, the county approves a six-year Capital Improvements Program, which includes school facilities and infrastructure. In off years, such as FY 2012, only amendments to the adopted CIP are considered.

  In May, the County Council adopted a $1.386 billion CIP for Fiscal Years 2011-2016. The adopted CIP includes funding for the planning and construction of additions at eight elementary schools and one high school. The CIP also funds a new elementary school and middle school in the Clarksburg area.

   The Board's amendments total $8.64 million, which reinstate funds that were removed by the County Council when it adopted the CIP last year.  These additional funds will go to HVAC, Indoor Air Quality, and other infrastructure projects.  In addition, funds have been added to meet a new grease removal requirement from the Washingon Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). The amendments bring the six-year total CIP request to $1.394 billion.

    MCPS has added approximately 6,500 students over the past three school years. The current enrollment is over 144,000 students and is expected to grow by another 10,000 students by 2016. 

   Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast submitted recommended CIP amendments to the Board on October 28 and hundreds of residents turned out for public hearings on the recommendations November 10 and 11.

    The CIP is now submitted to the County Executive and County Council for consideration. A final vote on the CIP by the County Council is expected in May 2011.

   The Board of Education Amended CIP request maintains the completion dates of all school capacity and school modernization projects as adopted in the FY 2011–2016 CIP last year.  Below are highlights of new planning actions taken by the Board in Amended the CIP.

Richard Montgomery Cluster

   In order to relieve overcrowding at the elementary schools and middle school in the Richard Montgomery cluster, the Board adopted:

   - A feasibility study for an expansion to Julius West Middle School to be conducted in FY 2011.
   - A feasibility study for the construction of a new elementary school at the site of the former Hungerford Park Elementary School on West Edmonston Drive.
   - The possible relocation of the district-wide Chinese Immersion Program from College Gardens Elementary to another elementary school.

   Any recommendations for construction will be made as a part of the FY2013-FY2018 Capital Improvements Program, which will be submitted in fall 2011.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase Cluster

   As part of the CIP, the board adopted the creation in FY 2011 of a site selection committee to identify the location for a new middle school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area,  and a feasibility study to determine the cost and scope of the new middle school.

   The opening of the new middle school will allow the sixth-grade students currently housed at North Chevy Chase and Chevy Chase elementary schools to attend a middle school. The new school also will provide relief to Westland Middle School, which is expected to be 250 students over capacity by 2016.

   The Board directed the superintendent to study options for enhancing the middle school programs for sixth-graders at North Chevy Chase and Chevy Chase elementary schools until they can be reassigned to a middle school, including the cost and implications of reassigning these students to Westland Middle School. 

   The Board also adopted an elementary boundary study in the B-CC cluster to review assignments of Bethesda, Chevy Chase, North Chevy Chase and Rosemary Hills elementary schools, and to address the partial pairing of Bethesda and Rosemary Hills elementary schools.

Northwest Cluster

   In order to relieve crowding at Spark M. Matsunaga and Great Seneca Creek elementary schools, the Board approved the creation of a site selection committee in FY 2011 to identify the location for a new elementary school in the Northwest cluster, and a feasibility study to determine the cost and scope of the new elementary school. A final recommendation on how to relieve crowding at area elementary schools will be considered as part of the FY 2013-1018 CIP.

Other Board Actions

   - A boundary study for the new Downcounty Consortium ES #29 (at the site of the former McKenney Hills Elementary School) which will open in August 2012. This school will address crowding at  Oakland Terrrace  and Woodlin elementary schools.
   - A change in student assignments in the Poolesville cluster that allows students in the cluster to transfer to Monocacy Elementary School at any point during their elementary school years. This will help address the continued low enrollment levels at Monocacy Elementary School.

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