New sites proposed for elementary school in Bethesda area

New sites proposed for elementary school in Bethesda area

School would be shared between WJ, B-CC clusters

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Montgomery County Public Schools has released an updated list of potential sites for a new elementary school in the Bethesda area.

The recommendations are part of an elementary school capacity study for the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Walter Johnson high school clusters.

Documents posted on the MCPS website show 10 potential new school sites that are either owned by MCPS or municipalities and are more than 4 acres. The new school would likely be shared by the two clusters.

“There are capacity issues in both the Walter Johnson and B-CC clusters, but not to the point where a new elementary school for each cluster makes sense,” MCPS spokesman Derek Turner said Wednesday afternoon.

The school district in October released its initial list of proposed sites, many of which included building on public park sites. The new list released this week has only one site that includes a park. There are six new sites that were not on the earlier list: Alta Vista, Kensington, Rocking Horse, White Flint North, White Flint South and WMAL.

“Park sites, with the exception of Ayrlawn, were removed from the study based on community feedback and additional sites were provided,” according to the report.

Most of the proposed sites are in the central and southern portions of the Walter Johnson cluster. There are fewer schools in the cluster that can receive addition or expansions, compared to the B-CC cluster, the report says.

“Sites deeper within the B-CC cluster and further north in the WJ cluster were evaluated however, those sites located closer to the cluster boundary allow for consideration of a shared solution to the projected shortage of seats,” according to the report.

MCPS launched a survey to gather community input about the proposed sites. It will be available through Feb. 25. A community meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at North Bethesda Middle School.

Untitled design (17)
A map of elementary schools in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Walter Johnson clusters. The proposed new sites are marked with a turquoise circle.

The sites are:

  • Alta Vista Elementary School — Proposed development includes a three-story addition to a school on an MCPS-owned lot. The school is a former school that is currently closed but still owned by MCPS. There is space for only 70 parking spaces and limited playground space. The small 3.53-acre property does not have space for a baseball field and could not accommodate additional expansions in the future. Address: 5615 Beech Ave.
  • Ayrlawn Elementary School & Local Park — Existing school that closed in 1982 and is still owned by MCPS. Proposed development includes using a “small portion” of the adjacent park for parking. There are two softball fields on the property and room for about 96 parking spaces. Address: 5650 Oakmont Ave.
  • Grosvenor Elementary School — Existing facility that is currently used as a temporary school while other schools undergo major renovations or expansions. The site can accommodate about 100 parking spaces and playground space. The biggest drawback, according to MCPS, is it would no longer be available as a “holding school.” Address: 5701 Grosvenor Lane.
  • Kensington Elementary School — The school would sit on a 4-acre lot on Detrick Avenue. The site has room for 110 parking spaces, but not for a baseball field or play areas. Address: 10400 Detrick Ave.
  • Lynnbrook Center — Existing facility that is currently closed, but is still owned by MCPS. A portion of the building could be used as a day care center and the current site has a softball field and tennis courts. Outdoor play spaces would have to be split between the two ends of the school. There would be about 110 parking spaces. Address: 8001 Lynnbrook Drive.
  • Montrose Center — Existing facility that is currently closed, but is still owned by MCPS. There is space to accommodate 100 parking spots, but not outdoor play spaces. Address: 12301 Academy Way. 
  • Rocking Horse Road Center — The 18.7-acre site is large enough to accommodate a multitude of building designs. There would be 92 parking spaces and a softball field. The center is used by MCPS central office staff. Address: 4910 Macon Road.
  • White Flint North Site — The site is a bit constrained, according to MCPS, and would not have adequate room for outdoor play spaces. There would be approximately 100 parking spaces and separated student drop-off loops for buses and vehicles. Address: 11410 Woodglen Drive.
  • White Flint South Site — Another small site, there would not be adequate room for parking and play spaces. The property “attempts to utilize some of the acreage that was once part of the mall that has been demolished,” MCPS documents say. Address: 11301 Rockville Pike.
  • WMAL — On Greentree Road, the 4-acre property would not have space for a softball diamond, but could accommodate up to 114 parking spaces. Address: 7115 Greentree Road.

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

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