Friday, December 7, 2012

Entire Public School Site Leased to COMCAST, Land Not Available for Use as Public School

The Board of Education owns an 11.05 acre piece of land in Gaithersburg.  That land that is dedicated public school land.  The 11.05 acre property is known as the Woodwards Road  Elementary School site.

The Board of Education quietly leased the entire Woodwards Road site to COMCAST with a portion leased to several telecommunications providers.  The existence of the COMCAST lease was revealed in the UpCounty Site Selection Report. 

The Parents' Coalition has obtained a copy of the COMCAST lease.  The original lease was signed by Superintendent Jerry Weast and Board of Education President Patricia O'Neill in 2003. 

Why is an entire 11.03 acre public school site being leased to a private entity?  Why is this site now tied up in private interests and unavailable for use by public school children?  

The 2003 Comcast Lease, First and Second Amendments are shown below: 

Comcast Lease Agreement for Telecommunications

Comcast First Amendment to Lease Woodwards Road

Comcast Second Amendment Woodwards Rd


  1. The title of this post is misleading. (Unfortunately, that is not unusual for this blog). Reading the lease and the site selection report, this seems to be a very prudent action by the BOE. The property is not currently used as a school, and would otherwise lie fallow. So, the BOE leased it to communications companies, getting $22,000 per year from Comcast (and maybe more from other communications companies).

    As for use as a school, read section 7(b). The BOE has the right to reclaim the property with only 360 days notice. Comcast will have to vacate the property and restore it to its original condition (section 13). It appears that the BOE owes nothing to Comcast for terminating early. So, I ask, what's the big deal??

    P.S. I am NOT MCPS. I am very involved in county wide school construction issues, however. I have my objections to MCPS construction practices, but this certainly would not be one of them.

    1. The big deal is the site is unusable. There are multiple cell tower vendors on this site and the Board of Education knows they will never, ever get these cell towers taken down.


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