School renovation status to be announced in October

Arya Ramachandran
staff writter

The school’s renovation status will be determined in early October by Superintendent Jack Smith, according to Principal Kim Boldon. Problems including holes in the ceiling and erratic temperatures make students hopeful of improvements.

The Capital Improvement Plan has approved renovation of the school and studies are being conducted to determine a set date to begin. Boldon was disappointed that the renovation was postponed, but is “looking forward to getting new information about our renovation scope and size.”

The plans for renovation and what exactly will be renovated has not been decided as of yet. The cost for the construction has also not been determined and will be released with the school’s renovation plans. Boldon estimates it to be about “[$]24 million.”

This school has a considerable number of infrastructural issues including the HVAC system, leaking pipes, mold, and breaking ceilings. These problems are not new to this community, but “students and teachers have learned to live with it,’’ Boldon said.

Certain rumored suspicions like lead in the drinking water and asbestos are actually false. Boldon said that there was a “small lead reporting in a classroom sink near the administrative office,” but that was resolved and there are no safety hazards to the drinking water. In regards to asbestos, yearly checks are conducted and nothing has been reported.

Students and staff have expressed mixed emotions regarding the school’s current problems and renovation status. “I feel negatively about it,” freshman Catherine Koo said. “This school is old and needs fixing.”

The CIP previously stated that the scope of the renovation project was to be determined during the 2018–2019 school year, but are now stating that “an FY 2020 appropriation is approved for planning to begin the architectural design for this project.” The process of renovation, itself, was delayed due to the timing of the new superintendent›s arrival and his change in the renovation procedures.

Boldon said students and staff were originally expected to stay in school during the renovation process, moving to the newly built sections as the construction continued. “Our school is too big to find a holding school,” Boldon said.

Residential construction will take place in the Rockshire shopping area that may affect the population of students at this school. The upcoming mixed-use residential area will contain students and families that are part of this cluster. The CIP estimates that this school will “exceed capacity by 200 seats or more by the end of the six-year planning period,” therefore the incoming students will only contribute to this increasing issue.

A new high school has been approved by the CIP for construction, but little information is known regarding the process and how it will affect school zoning. The high school will be known by the name of Crown High School and will be built in the Crowns Farm site. Boldon is not concerned because she does not know much about the subject except that Montgomery County Public Schools must “make plans for it by 2026 or they will lose the land.”

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