The Montgomery County school board has signed off on plans for the second phase of construction at the future Woodward High School, which will include an athletics stadium and fields.

When plans for the project were unveiled in 2019, the school district said the stadium might not be built, which would make it the only high school in the county without one. Doing so would eliminate space for parking and force the district to build a garage, which is expensive, officials said at the time.

But within three months, amid significant community pushback, MCPS changed course and shared plans for the site, which broke construction into two phases, with a stadium included in the second.

In September, the school board approved plans for the first phase of construction, which is now underway.

Woodward will serve as a temporary school for Northwood High in 2023 while Northwood undergoes a building project. Then, Woodward will reopen as a new high school when Northwood moves out, expected by 2026.

The roughly $180 million Woodward school will have space for about 2,200 students. It was originally designed for 2,700 students, but plans were scaled back in September as building costs increased.

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Plans for the second phase of construction, shared last week, include a second gym, a 600-seat auditorium, ensemble rooms and virtual reality labs. There will be a two-level parking garage — a first for MCPS facilities.

The auditorium will have 400 seats on the main level, with 200 seats in a balcony area.

There will be gender-neutral bathrooms throughout the school, architects said.

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MCPS has said there could be a performing arts program at Woodward.
In 2019, then-Superintendent Jack Smith convened a work group, led by former Strathmore CEO Eliot Pfanstiehl, to explore the possibility.

MCPS Director of Facilities Management Seth Adams said the MCPS leaders will give the school board an update on plans for academic programs soon.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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