On October 9, 2012 I attended a meeting at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School for the first of 5 Feasibility/Work Sessions having to do with the proposed expansion.
For starters, you can link to notes on the BCC Expansion here.
At the meeting were Karen Lockard (Principal), James Tokar (Structural Engineer and Director of Construction for Mont. Co. Schools), and Debbie Szyfer (Education Specialist/Planner) and representatives from Smolen-Emr-Ilkovitch Architects.
Here’s the skinny:
- BCC HS has a capacity for 1,640 – 1,650 children.
- Enrollment today is at 1,870 children. Over the next several years, enrollment is expected to surpass 2,000 students.
- The goal for the expansion is to emerge with a school that has a capacity for 2,200-2,400 children.
BCC sits on a 16-acre site. It suffers from urban site issues. Most high schools within Montgomery county strive to have 30-acres.
One thing to keep in mind: This is a discussion about the physical addition of classrooms – NOT about classroom size or the larger issue of overcrowding within our cluster.
In order to accommodate the incredible surge in growth, 33 more classrooms/teaching stations are needed. Included in the proposed expansion are:
- 23 regular classrooms
- 3 science labs
- 2 art rooms (digital)
- music room
- tech/ed labs
- multi-purpose room/kitchen
- 1 auxiliary gym (for a total of 3, including weight, dance and wrestling studios)
- offices, counseling and staff rooms
- 40-50 more parking spaces for staff
The CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) has some money already in the budget for expansion, but for 10 classrooms only. The gap needs to be filled.
Construction is due to begin during the summer of 2015 and could carry on through 2017.
There are currently 3 “Concepts” being considered. This may change.
- CONCEPT A adds 84,000+ gsf. It would build classroom space over the current bleachers, raise the tennis courts to rest over a 120-space parking structure. This is considered the least efficient of the three plans with a rating of 57%.
- CONCEPT B adds 79,000+ gsf and is similar to CONCEPT A, though it has a double row of classrooms, as opposed to a single row. This concept has a 60% efficiency factor.
- CONCEPT C adds 75,000+ gsf and also includes a 4th floor. This addition would be built out in front of the existing main entrance to the school and has an efficiency factor of 63%.
- I’ll try to locate some drawings that I can share with you on my next blog update.
To be taken into consideration are the following issues:
- There are no “holding schools” available anymore. Meaning, students will be present during construction.
- There are portable classroom location issues. Once currently rests on the tennis court. There are more to come.
- While parking is desperately needed, there are security issues to take into consideration.
- Parking remains a big issue for the East Bethesda community.
- During construction, there will be parking issues for the various construction crews.
- Will it effect the school programs. You betcha.
- Will it effect the fields? For certain.
- Practice locations for sports teams will have to be identified, etc.
The feasibility meetings are held in the cafeteria at BCC High School. They are open to the public. Here’s the schedule:
- Tuesday, October 23 at 7pm
- Thursday, November 8 at 3pm
- Wednesday, November 28 at 7pm
- Tuesday, December 11 at 7pm (wrap up)