Local residents are being asked to help choose a design option for a proposed addition at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School that will increase capacity to 2,400 students.
SEI Architects, a consultant for Montgomery County Public Schools, has presented four designs to the community, but none is likely to be built.
MCPS must present at least three designs to the county Board of Education, said Jim Tokar, a project manager for MCPS, at a meeting Thursday. The designs will be used to create a budget for the addition, after which he said the design process will start from scratch.
“It is very possible that we will come up with a whole new design,” he said.
The meeting was part of a feasibility study that kicked off Oct. 9. The proposed addition would increase capacity from 1,665 students to 2,400 students and be the size of a small elementary school.
B-CC is currently overenrolled with a little more than 1,800 students, and is projected to reach nearly 2,200 students by 2017.
The county needs to take a comprehensive look at how they address overcrowding, said Rafe Petersen, a Chevy Chase father of three. In an interview, he said he believed there is no coordination between the Montgomery County Planning Board and MCPS, which has consistently underestimated enrollment.
“Every year, we’re back at the drawing board,” Petersen said. “You can’t be wrong all the time and say you have a good formula.”
Since 2007 MCPS has added 11,000 students countywide, most of it at the elementary school level. The B-CC cluster has already added, or is planning to add, capacity at elementary and middle schools.
If enrollment at B-CC increases beyond 2,400 students, MCPS would look to reassign students to other areas of the county, said Bruce Crispell, director of the division of long range planning for MCPS. He previously said it is not possible to alleviate short-term crowding by altering the boundaries of the cluster because every high school around the perimeter is at capacity or projected to exceed capacity in the next few years.
B-CC needs the addition, B-CC Principal Karen Lockard said.
“Every year there are going to be more portables and every year there are going to be more kids,” she said. “We’ve got to build this building.”
The proposed addition would be about 47,000 square feet. Design plans call for 33 more teaching stations, including 23 regular classrooms, two art rooms, a seminar room, multipurpose lab with ovens and an auxiliary gym. Other options include artificial turf for the football field, which would help meet the need for more practice fields.
Design options would make minimal modifications to the existing building structure. They call for 50 to 100 extra parking spaces, thanks to an elevated tennis court that would provide surface level parking underneath. Increased enrollment would mean about 40 new teachers.
Option A is a two-story addition that would wrap around the gym and extend over the existing bleachers. Option B would also wrap around the gym with a different configuration of classrooms and corridors.
Option C is a four-story addition that would be built across the front of the building.
Option D would also be built across the front of the building, but would be elevated off the ground to provide access underneath for cars and buses.
It is unclear how much construction would cost — estimates are not yet available — but the Montgomery County Council has already approved funding for 10 more classrooms, Debbie Szyfer, senior planner for MCPS, previously said.
Another worksession is scheduled at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School at 4301 East-West Highway at 7 p.m. Nov. 28. A community presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 11.