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Rock Creek Hills Park and Proposed Middle School for Bethesda-Chevy Chase (BCC) Cluster Important

Policy and Cost Considerations
Background: • MCPS has projected that the school will need to accommodate 1,200 students. • MCPS reported an increase in enrollment for elementary school aged students, Fall 2011. • In late April, the Board of Education (BOE) identified Rock Creek Hills Park as the future site for the middle school, after rejecting another park site.

MCPS Middle School Site Guidelines Include:
• • • Should be at least 20 usable acres Should include a large general use field, a soccer field, 4 softball fields, basketball courts, 6 tennis courts, and track /field area and play area. Should accommodate stacking for up to 20 buses and at least 125 parking spaces.

Rock Creek Hills Park (RCHP) • Originally, RCHP was the home to Kensington Junior High School; after the school closed, over 8 acres was deeded to the Housing Opportunities Commission for senior housing. • RCHP today is only 13.2 acres with approximately 9 buildable acres for a school. • Nearly 25% of RCHP is a sloped 50 foot drop with old-growth trees and serves as an environmental buffer protecting a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. • RCHP is heavily used by residents, community soccer teams, and by BCC High School soccer and lacrosse team practices; over 400 permits were issued last year. Standards and Cost Implications • The proposed Middle School will only accommodate 830 students due to the small size and terrain of RCHP. To house MCPS’s projected 1,200 students will require 18-20 portables and/or a substantial, costly expansion ($ millions). • Space for outdoor athletics will be inadequate; and expansion of the building and/or use of portables will further reduce playing fields resulting in off-site athletics. Both BCC High School and the middle school sports program will be adversely impacted and compromised. • Due to the challenging terrain and inadequate infrastructure, construction at RCHP will require costly mitigations that will exceed customary costs by 10% to 15% ($7 – 10 million); additional millions will be necessary to enhance, update and relocate infrastructure within the RCHP site. Summary • The MCPS feasibility study is proposing a middle school that is too small to meet projected enrollment; to meet bus, faculty, parent and visitor parking; and to provide adequate playing fields. To accommodate 1,200 students will require expansion, which will increase costs and limit sports programs even more. The site does not provide parity with other middle schools in the county per MCPS requirements. • To meet the challenge and stay on track, ask the Board of Education to request and our County Council to approve a placeholder in the Capital Improvement Plan for construction of a middle school for 1,200 --- one of adequate size, with construction costs falling in line with other middle schools. CONTACT: MC Council: Board of Ed: