School Board Approves More Than $411 Million in Capital Projects

Expansions for two Bethesda schools OK'd, boundaries set for new middle school in B-CC cluster


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Montgomery County Board of Education considers school projects Monday night.

Douglas Tallman

The Montgomery County Board of Education approved Monday night capital improvement projects totaling $411.7 million that include expansions of Bethesda’s Ashburton Elementary School and North Bethesda Middle School.

The spending package will be forwarded to County Executive Ike Leggett, who will then present it to the County Council for approval.

The projects are part of the Recommended Fiscal 2018 Capital Budget and Amendments to the 2017-2022 Capital Improvements Program, a six-year spending program for large school projects.

Also, the board approved the proposed boundaries for the new middle school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster.

The school, which is currently named “B-CC Middle School No. 2,” is being constructed at 1701 Saul Road, Kensington, to relieve crowding at Westland Middle in Bethesda, which has an enrollment of 1,642, which is 555 students greater than capacity, according to school documents.

By 2022-2023 academic year, enrollments at Westland and B-CC Middle School No. 2, are projected to have 901 and 925 students, respectively.

The new middle school, which is scheduled to open in September, will draw students from Chevy Chase, North Chevy Chase, Rock Creek Forest and Rosemary Hills elementary schools. Westland would have students from Bethesda, Somerset and Westbrook elementary schools.

Students who attend the Spanish immersion programs at Rosemary Hills and Rock Creek Forest elementary schools would still go to Westland.

For the Ashburton project, the board approved a permanent addition that would increase capacity from 652 to 770 students, as well as a modular addition, by August 2019. The school’s current enrollment is 924, school records show. The total cost of the project is expected to be $14 million, according to school system records.

The modular addition would look like it’s part of the school building, but be removed when a new elementary school is built in the cluster.

School officials had considered relocating Ashburton’s Preschool Education Program to give the school more room. The board decided to give that option further consideration.

For North Bethesda Middle, the board approved an addition that would increase capacity from 864 to 1,229. According to school records, enrollment is now 1,133. The cost of the project is expected to be $21.6 million, according to school system documents.

The board also approved using the Garrett Park annex as classroom space at Garrett Park Elementary when needed. The school’s current capacity is 752, but its enrollment is 844, school records show.

Elementary school enrollment across the Walter Johnson High School cluster will be monitored to determine the timing of a new school, according to a board resolution.

The board also approved a boundary study for a new Rockville school now called Richard Montgomery Elementary School No. 5. The school is at 332 W. Edmonston Ave. and is scheduled to open in August 2018. Beall, College Gardens and Ritchie Park elementary schools will be part of the study.

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