back page editor
It appears renovations here are a long way off. According to the superintendent’s recommended budget and amendments to the “Capital Improvements Plan” (CIP), it is recommended that they appropriate funds in 2020 to begin “architectural design.” The actual renovation has no start date in sight.
This comes after the renovation was taken off the schedule earlier this school year. According to the Montgomery County budget, the renovation was delayed by two years in the 2013-2018 CIP due to fiscal constraints, then delayed another year in the 2015-2020 CIP. The county has spent a total of $4,840 on planning, design and supervision, but the project is unfunded otherwise.
Currently, the renovation is up in the air. “I don’t have an update at the moment but we’re supposed to have a feasibility study where they look at the possibilities of renovations this spring,” principal Kimberly Boldon said.
Built in 1970, the building is showing signs of age after almost 50 years of continuous use. There are leaks in the ceiling, dingy bathrooms and weird smells, everything expected from a building that has hosted high schoolers for half a century. “It’s kind of depressing when the building is crumbling around us,” sophomore Val Zhao said.
After the “lead-in-the-water” scare earlier this school year, students are acutely aware of the impact the building’s condition and age can have on their health. “I think that there should be stuff fixed soon that can impact our health and it’s annoying to go to a school that’s low key falling apart but it’s not the biggest deal,” junior Rebecca Hartman said.
As the new Seneca Valley and new Edison are built, it’s easy for students here to feel forgotten or left behind. “They’re basically telling us that our education doesn’t matter as much as other students,” Zhao said.
Students are aware of the fact that the school’s condition was the decision of the County and not of anyone here. “I’m disappointed in the county,” freshman Jonah Geisner said.
Students are also aware that others are in the same boat. Old, crumbling buildings plague the county. “I don’t think it’s the biggest deal because there are a lot of schools worse off but there are things that need to be fixed now,” junior Sufiya Van Gieson said.
That disappointment slowly simmers into anger and hopelessness. “I think that it’s very irresponsible because they promised us a renovation and Montgomery County doesn’t care about our well-being and it doesn’t matter about how good our scores are,” Zhao said.
According to the MCPS website, this school is the only construction project that’s a complete renovation still marked in the “feasibility” stage. There are four meetings and a community presentation listed on the schedule, all of which were in 2015.
Cold Spring Elementary School and Dufief Elementary School were both due for renovations as well, but according to the CIP, Cold Spring’s renovation has been shelved indefinitely, while Dufief’s renovation has been pushed to 2022.