Middle School Opponents Urged To Participate In Design Process

One of the early site plans for the proposed middle school at the Rock Creek Hills Local ParkOpponents of a middle school at Rock Creek Hills Local Park are participating in the school’s design process, even as their court appeal remains unresolved.

Members of the Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association and the Save The Rock Creek Hills Park group have sought to block the school and maintain the 13.4-acre park that the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) acquired from the Board of Education in 1990.

In April, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Rubin ruled in favor of the school system, which wants to build a second middle school at the park (3701 Saul Rd.) to accommodate overcrowding at Westland Middle School and the planned reassignment of Grade 6 students from Chevy Chase and North Chevy Chase Elementary Schools.

In July, the Planning Board reluctantly agreed turned the park over to the school system.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education approved an agreement that would allow Montgomery Parks to continue to operate the property as a park until construction started on the school. Construction for the unnamed Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School No. 1 is slated for July 2015.

Meanwhile, MCPS has been holding a series of four community worksessions on the design of the school. The final two are set for Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 3:45 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. Both will be in the media center of North Chevy Chase Elementary School (3700 Jones Bridge Rd.).

There will be a PTA/community schematic design presentation on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. at the school.

In September, Rock Creek Hills Citizens’ Association President John Robinson wrote on the group’s website that it may be time to give up the fight against the school in order to get the best design for the building:

Below is a notice regarding the meetings the School Board Staff is scheduling for the schematic design of the proposed BCC MS #2 planned for the Rock Creek Hills Local Park site starting September 11. It is appropriate to attend those meetings to be informed and to suggest design changes that would mitigate the impact of the proposed school and to assure it most effectively serves the students if it is built. However I believe nothing will be gained at this point from protesting the prior decision at these meetings or debating whether the school should be built. The Council President recently affirmed that the Council and the rest of the County government consider this issue closed. If we are to be effective as a
community in addressing design concerns, it should be for constructive engagement and comment. Otherwise we are likely be ignored and undercut any educational and design concerns our residents may have.

An appeal with the Court of Special Appeals has no briefing schedule yet. It can take that court two years to to issue a final decision.

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