Montgomery County schools Superintendent Jack Smith on Friday released his vision for school construction and infrastructure improvements over the next five years. His long-range plan totals $1.82 billion and includes nine new projects.
The school district’s capital improvements program (CIP) for fiscal years 2021-2026 was previously approved, but each year, the school board can adjust the plan.
Smith’s recommended CIP represents a $74.2 million increase over what has previously been approved.
Smith attributed the increase to a jump in student enrollment. This school year, there are 165,439 students — an increase of 2,759 students from the prior year. MCPS enrollment is expected to reach more than 171,000 students by 2025, which will strain an already cramped school district, Smith wrote.
“Many schools are significantly overutilized and beyond their life-cycle and capital projects are necessary learning to provide the learning environment for students and staff deserve,” Smith wrote. “This recommended CIP will address the growing need for classroom space through additions and new schools, and will focus on our aging facilities and infrastructure through the many countywide systemic projects.”
Schools tabbed for “major” projects and their anticipated completion dates are:
- Burnt Mills Elementary, September 2023
- South Lake Elementary, September 2023
- Woodlin Elementary, September 2023
- Stonegate Elementary, September 2024
- Neelsville Middle, September 2024
- Poolesville High, September 2024
- Damascus High, September 2025
- Thomas S. Wootton High, September 2026
- Col. Zadok Magruder, September 2027
The nine projects are estimated to cost a total of $397.6 million.
Smith’s proposed CIP also includes additions at Bethesda, William Tyler Page and Westbrook elementary schools; a new elementary school to address crowding in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Walter Johnson high school clusters; six previously approved elementary school addition projects; and money to plan additions at Lake Seneca, Highland View and Thurgood Marshall elementary schools.
At the middle school level, Smith’s CIP proposal includes five previously approved additions at Col. E. Brooke Lee, Parkland, Thomas W. Pyle, Silver Spring International and Takoma Park middle schools.
Addition projects are planned for John F. Kennedy, Walt Whitman and Northwood high schools.
A new high school will open in Gaithersburg and the former Charles W. Woodward High School will also reopen.
The school board plans a comprehensive review of Smith’s recommendations, beginning with a marathon school board meeting on Monday. The board has also planned several public hearings and work sessions over the next month.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at email@example.com