Tuesday, January 13, 2015

BOE to Demolish 85,400 sf. of Classrooms, Loss of 600 Seats

Superintendent Joshua Starr has recommended, and the Board of Education has approved, a plan to demolish the Ewing Center School on Avery Road in Rockville, MD to make way for a 400 bus parking lot.

However, neither Superintendent Starr nor the Board of Education have discussed how much classroom space is being demolished to make this plan work.

The Parents' Coalition has researched the Ewing Center School and learned that the building is 85,400 sf.  A building of that size can hold about 600 students

For comparison, Arcola Elementary is a school with 85,469 sf. of space and has a State Rated Capacity of 603 students. 

The Board of Education wants more classrooms for students, yet doesn't want to use the existing classrooms that are already built and ready for use.  With this type of "planning,"  Montgomery County Public Schools are guaranteed to be in classroom trailers for another 30 years. (FYI - MCPS students have already been in classroom trailers for 30 years.)


  1. Any idea what kind of shape the building is in? Would it need a major Rev/Ex to be ready to use again?

    1. Yes. Condition of building is known. Money has been allocated to renovate the building. The BOE has now taken that money away from the Ewing Center School and is sending it to another building. That will leave Ewing Center School with $0 for renovation. That will allow the building to deteriorate, rot and be demolished.

  2. Forgetting for the moment the usefulness of the building. I agree with a previous writer on a related story, this doesn't even seem like it would be an ideal location for a bus depot. It's a narrow road, heavily traveled in the morning, steep and curvy leading to Southlawn. Not the best road during wet/icy conditions. I can't believe there aren't better locations for the bus depot. I'm sure someone is getting paid to make this happen.

  3. I toured the building this past Monday afternoon. It is solidly-built, well-maintained, and in excellent shape. It is definitely usable. Check out the feasibility study MCPS did in 2013:
    No wonder the BoE staff felt that they could turn the Blair G. Ewing Center into a "national model" for alternative programs. Check out the meeting minutes from September 9, 2014... less than two months before Dr. Starr released the CIP that stated that the Ewing Center had to be demolshed.

  4. The Ewing building cannot hold up to 600 students. While it was under redesign, the study done concluded that 300 would be the limit, as the building is oddly shaped. Even 300 seems too many. While the school has two levels with several wings, the halls are narrow and not all rooms are appropriate for classroom use. The cafeteria spaces are very small, forcing kids to move in shifts. Keeping challenging kids in close quarters creates some difficult situations, especially if two kids from the same school had been involved in a situation that placed them at Alt.

    1. Of course it can hold 600 students. The redesign was being done for a SPECIFIC program. The building itself can easily hold 600 students. It's all in how it is designed.
      Students eat in shifts in all elementary schools and high schools never have enough seats for all students.
      The BOE super duper plan is to transfer these students to a SMALLER facility.

    2. I know Ewing and am quite aware of the capacity issues at both sites. Ewing cannot even accommodate 300 students in its current "redesign." Walls would have to be torn down, and offices would somehow have to be expanded to form classroom spaces. The pool is beyond repair. So that's currently dead space. Perhaps English Manor is easier to remodel? I have no idea, as I've never seen the elementary school. However, I do know that it's a smaller space.

      Personally, I think Alt should stay at Ewing and the money set aside for the move and remodeling should be used to truly redesign Ewing. And while there's a question about capacity (a cap for enrollment), it is my understanding that attendance at Alt considers to be an issue. So even if remodeling increases capacity, there's no guarantee that attendance will increase.

    3. Again, you are missing the point. Of course the school can be designed to accommodate 600 students. It has the square footage. You are stuck thinking that the school is only for a certain PROGRAM, but Starr wants that program out of the building. If that program leaves you don't design the interior for a program that left. The square footage is there, it is paid for, it is available for up to 600 MCPS students. It can be designed to educate 600 students.
      The value of that building in the MCPS school inventory is the total PAID FOR square footage of classroom space.


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