Committee Recommends Sites for Second B-CC Middle School

February 24, 2012
A committee reviewing possible locations for a second middle school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster will recommend two sites for Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr to consider.

The Site Selection Advisory Committee (SSAC) voted this week to recommend Rock Creek Hills Local Park and North Chevy Chase Hills Local Park as the two sites for construction, with Rock Creek Hills being the preferred location. The committee’s report will be officially submitted to Dr. Starr on March 12.

Rock Creek Hills Park was the site approved by the Board of Education in April, 2011, however concerns were raised about the site selection process and the suitability of the park as a location for the school. Dr. Starr, who began his tenure at MCPS after the decision, asked in November that the site selection process be done over as long as it does not delay the project. The new middle school is scheduled to open in August 2017.

The SSAC had 47 members and met four times (see more about the members below). The committee reviewed 38 possible sites for the new middle school—10 sites that were reviewed in the first site selection process and 28 additional sites. After discussion, sites were eliminated mainly due to size, environmental constraints or the cost of obtaining the property. At its final meeting on Wednesday (February 22), the committee reduced its recommendation to the two sites and overwhelmingly chose the Rock Creek Hills site as the preferred location.

“I want to thank the members of this Site Selection Advisory Committee for their time and congratulate them on a thorough and consistent process that explored new sites and new ideas,” Dr. Starr said. “I sought a new site selection process to make sure people have faith in the manner in which we conduct our business, whether or not they agree with the ultimate decision. I will carefully consider the committee’s recommendation as we begin the next phase of the process.”

The committee will submit its report to Dr. Starr on March 12, which will begin a two-week period of public comment that ends on March 26. Dr. Starr will make his recommendation to the Board of Education on March 30 and the matter is expected to be on the Board of Education agenda for April 12.

Both sites will be referred to the Montgomery County Planning Board to ensure the recommended locations are consistent with the master plans for the areas in which they are located.

Membership of the SSAC

The Site Selection Advisory Committee for a new Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster middle school included 47 members that represented the county, MCPS and the committee. The SSAC includes:

- Representatives of the Parent and Teacher Association (PTA) for all B-CC cluster schools;
- Representatives of homeowner associations that include or are immediately adjacent to possible sites;
- Representatives of the municipalities within the B-CC Cluster and the town of Kensington;
- Representatives of the Montgomery County departments of general services, recreation, and transportation;
- Representatives of the County Executive’s Office of Management and Budget;
- Representatives of the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks, and Department of Planning;
- A staff member from the Montgomery County Council; and
- Representatives of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

Attendance as the meetings was high, with at least 40 of the 47 members present at all four meetings.

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