Friday, February 20, 2015

School Overcrowding Forum Saturday, March 7th 8AM-4PM

Hi Everyone,
Recently Ike Leggett took part in a groundbreaking for the new Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA) on Snouffer School Road.  According to the press release, the current PSTA or fire tower area on Darnestown Road at Great Seneca will be moved to the new Snouffer School Road site in order to:
  • “Create a transit-oriented bioscience enclave at the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center that will increase the County’s competiveness;
  • Construct thousands of new housing units;
  • Create new, high-paying jobs;
  • Relocate and replace old, overcrowded, inadequate public facilities;
  • Save $22 million a year on rent payments; and
  • Create opportunities to protect the agricultural reserve.”
2,000 apartments are proposed for the existing PSTA site on Darnestown Road at Great Seneca (56 acres).  To put that into perspective, the Crown Farm site (180 acres) will have 2,250 housing units stretching from Sam Eig to Omega Drive.

I have been told that the kids from the Crown development (2,250 housing units) as well as the apartments on or near Key West Avenue (approximately 1,570 housing units) will go to the Gaithersburg schools.  The kids from the PSTA (2,000 units) as well as the Rickman property on Travilah Road (approved for 300 multifamily units) will go to schools in the Wootton cluster.  There is space reserved on Crown Farm for a high school and space in the PSTA for an elementary school… “if needed”.

School Clusters - The Life Sciences Center is served by two school clusters: the Gaithersburg Cluster and the Thomas S. Wootton Cluster. Based on the results of the School Test for FY13, the Gaithersburg Cluster is now over 105 percent of capacity at both the elementary and the middle school levels. The Wootton Cluster is over 105 percent of capacity at the high school level. To address capacity needs, certain residential development proposals will need to make school facility payments to receive plan approval in these clusters.”  Note that this does not say that construction of new schools is imminent or even planned.
 A forum with county agencies to discuss how county infrastructure and development planning and their timelines will impact school construction planning, and the disconnects among county agencies in coordinating that planning has been organized by WJ Cluster Coordinators and CIP Committee, with coordination with Councilmember Roger Berliner.  It will be held on
 Saturday, March 7th, 8am-4pm
 Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Cafeteria
 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda, 20814
 Accessible to Bethesda Metro station
 The announcement states:
“While this conversation was initiated by PTA leaders in the Walter Johnson cluster with their council representative, we recognize that these issues are countywide and Councilmember Berliner's office has organized this forum accordingly.”
“This is a heads-up for you and your communities, as we would like each cluster to send as many representatives as possible, especially those of you in areas where the increase and pace of residential development, in particular, is impacting your schools.”
Please plan to attend.

Good schools are vitally important to our children and the quality of our schools directly affects property values.  Please feel free to forward this email.

Thanks and best regards,

Donna Baron
Coordinator, The Gaithersburg – North Potomac – Rockville Coalition, online at


  1. The county is stuffing every empty lot to capacity with condos, apartments, and townhouses. Its becoming very challenging to keep up with it all. There is already a large block of apartments being built across from the JHU campus near the intersection of Key West and Diamondback. There are big blocks going up near the eastbound exit of Shady Grove also.

    Further upcounty is also packing them in.

    Here's a shot of the Father Hurley area near Wisteria:,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.86475890,d.eXY&um=1&ie=UTF-8&fb=1&gl=us&ftid=0x89b62e69dbe4b65b:0xfc86fa0e074a698e&q=Darnestown+Rd,+Maryland&sa=X&ei=dUXnVPXuNsydgwTQ7oK4BA&ved=0CB0Q8gEwAA&output=classic&dg=brw

  2. Note that doesn't say "affordable" housing units.


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