New Elementary School in Rockville to be Studied

October 27, 2010
   The construction of a new elementary school in Rockville will be studied as part of Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP) recommendation for Fiscal Year 2012, which will be released on Thursday, October 28.
   The study, if approved, will determine the scope and cost of building a new elementary school on West Edmonston Drive, at the site of the former Hungerford Park Elementary School. The new school would provide relief to the four elementary schools in the Richard Montgomery cluster—Beall, College Gardens, Ritchie Park and Twinbrook—all of which are above capacity.   
   In addition to a new elementary school, the magnitude of space deficits in the Richard Montgomery Cluster may require one or more classroom additions at Beall, Ritchie Park, and/or Twinbrook elementary schools.  With the completion of all of the capacity studies, a comprehensive plan to address the capacity needs of the Richard Montgomery cluster elementary schools will be developed as part of the FY 2013–2018 CIP, to be released in fall 2011.
   The CIP also recommends studying the cost and scope of an addition at the cluster’s only middle school, Julius West, which is expected to be 300 students over capacity by 2016.
   “Rockville is seen by many as a great place for families to live and send their child to school,” Dr. Weast said. “However, this creates a need for more classroom space now and in the future. We must work to address these needs as soon as possible.”
   To relieve crowding at College Gardens, Dr. Weast is recommending that the district-wide Chinese Immersion Program be relocated from College Gardens to the new elementary school once it is built. The program’s 150 students would remain at College Gardens until the new school is completed and the move would not result in any significant changes to the program.
   “We are seeing quite a bit of growth in our enrollment across the county,” said Patricia O’Neill, president of the Board of Education. “The Board will carefully review the Superintendent’s capital budget recommendation which provides us with a solid plan to address the school capacity needs of the Richard Montgomery cluster as well as the rest of the county.”
    Every two years, the county approves a six-year Capital Improvements Program, which includes school facilities and infrastructure projects. In alternate years, such as FY 2012, only CIP amendments are considered.
   Dr. Weast’s full CIP amendment recommendations will be released publicly on Thursday, Oct. 28, and will be discussed by the Board of Education at a work session on Nov. 4. Public hearings on the CIP will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 10 and Thursday, Nov. 11, and the Board of Education is expected to vote on the CIP recommendations on Nov. 18. The Board’s recommendations will then be forwarded to County Executive Isiah Leggett for consideration as part of the County’s Capital Budget which will be released in January 2011.

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