What do you think about renovating Northwood High School?
MCPS is planning a MAJOR renovation of Northwood High School. The school will be entirely (or almost) rebuilt. At our November 20th meeting, Michele Moller, who is one of the PTSA volunteer coordinators for the Northwood cluster of schools, reported on the status. There are three options being considered:
- Rebuild in place: This would involve building portable classrooms on the athletic fields, as many as 50! Construction would be ongoing throughout the year while school is in session.
- Relocate during construction to an alternative MCPS school building: The old Woodward High School in Rockville is scheduled to be completely rebuilt by 2023. Northwood students could be relocated here during construction.
- Relocate during construction to existing office building(s) in downtown Silver Spring: This idea has not been fully investigated, but there is significant unoccupied office space that could be renovated to support a school. So many questions, but no answers yet.
Michele reported on the results of the surveys that have been conducted, which did not include the downtown Silver Spring idea. More than half the parents favored the “rebuild in place” option. However, both she and Principal Charley-Greene reported that teachers who worked at Northwood during the prior renovation were strongly disturbed by the “rebuild in place” option. We learned that it took 10 years for Walter Johnson to complete a similar project.
There is no clearly “best” option. The tradeoffs are:
- Construction time: While “rebuild in place” would take at least 5 years (and with the least certainty), the relocate options should take only 2 years. Noise, dust, smells, and inconvenience would be the norm for “rebuild in place.”
- Community: Relocation to Rockville would substantially hinder parent visits to school, both during the school day and for after-school activities. Transportation options beyond the MCPS buses could be enhanced but are not likely to be convenient. There would be less inconvenience for downtown Silver Spring.
- Athletic facilities: None of the options include on-site athletic fields, but the Rockville option would have full gymnasium and there is an adjacent park that could be used for some practices. “Rebuild in place” should have a functioning gym for most or all of the construction period.
A couple of interesting points made about the downtown Silver Spring option: One is the convenience of being near the Montgomery College campus. In an unrelated discussion, the popularity of the MC2 Program (early achievement of associates degree from Montgomery College) was discussed. Also, there has been discussion about addressing over-enrollment problems in high schools by adding an “alternative” high school that might be a good fit for an office environment.
Parents from the entire Northwood cluster are clearly anxious about the possibility that their children might have to be bused 8 miles to Rockville for 2 years (or more). But there is also strong support for getting on with the much-needed (understatement) rebuild of Northwood High School. What should be done?
Share your thoughts with the Montgomery County Board of Education. Michele Moller assured us that they are paying close attention to the opinions expressed by parents. The Board is expected to decide which option to study further at its Boundaries and Facilities meeting on Tuesday, November 27th. You can email the Board of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank You to our Homecoming Committee of Parents and Teachers for an Amazing job!!
Thank You for the donations, the kids had enough to eat and drink 😋
Some AfterProm Fun was being had….
Thank You to our Sponsors and Donors who helped 2018 After Prom be a success !!