Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Set for ‘Incredibly Complex’ Addition Project

Construction likely to start as soon as this school year ends and continue even after new building is complete


Renderings of the addition planned for Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School

Aaron Kraut

In late June, the construction fencing will go up, the contractors will move in and the more than two-year-long addition project at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School will begin.

School system officials, the project’s construction manager, architects and Principal Donna Redmond Jones discussed the 88,000-square-foot project’s phasing and potential impacts on the East West Highway school during a PTSA meeting Tuesday night.

By the first day of classes in the 2018-2019 school year, the four-story addition on the west side of the existing school building and a raised two-story addition on the south side of the existing school building will be complete, officials said.

The $30 million project will add 24 classrooms, four science labs, a dance studio that could also be used as a black box theater, new art class spaces and other rooms for staff that will bump up the school’s capacity to 2,398 students. Almost 2,000 students attend the school now and classes will continue at the school during construction.

The project also includes raising the existing six tennis courts 20 feet above ground to allow for more student parking spaces underneath and a total renovation of the school’s football field and track that won’t be completed until 2019.

Seth Adams, director of the school system’s Division of Construction, called the coordination and scheduling of the project “incredibly complex.” The addition is roughly the size of a new elementary school and is being built on the smallest campus of any high school in the county

Site plan for B-CC addition project, via SEI Architects/MCPS

Craig Owsiany, project manager for lead contractor HESS Construction, said the intense construction activity will take place this summer, next summer and in the summer of 2018 in order to lessen the impact on regular school activities.

Sports that use the football field and track will be impacted the most. The field will be used as a staging area for contractors and construction materials and will be closed from the end of this school year until 2019. Owsiany said it will take crews until March or April of 2019 to rebuild the football field’s seating area, track and playing surface.

The football and track teams will have to practice and play at other yet-to-be-determined area playing fields.

Construction layout for first phase of project starting in June, via MCPS

This summer, work will include moving the existing portable classrooms on the tennis courts to the front lawn of the school, running a new sanitary line along the baseball field and demolishing and replacing a concrete sidewalk near the school’s main entrance.

The entire lower level of the existing building will be closed during the summer as crews install electrical wiring  to the school’s existing mechanical room and rework gas and plumbing piping.

Buses will be able to use the main entrance bus loop once the 2016-2017 school year begins and major work on the elevated tennis court and existing main entrace won’t start until the summer of 2017.

All design documents and a video rendering of the new addition are available on the school system’s website.

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