The graduating class of 2021 will be the last class of fifth-graders to complete a full year at the current Wayside Elementary School, as the plans to nearly completely demolish the school got approval from the county’s school leaders Wednesday.
The school board voted in favor of preliminary plans for the school located off Glen Road in Potomac, a project that will retain only the 2007 addition made to the school. The cost to build the school is estimated at $17.2 million, according to documents from Moseley Architects, hired by the school system to design the project.
“We are thrilled with the project,” said, Donna Michela, acting principal for Wayside Elementary School. “The new plan includes fabulous instructional space and the latest and greatest in technology.”
Wireless computer access and interactive whiteboard systems are part of the plan.
The construction schedule will have students attending the current Wayside school through January 2015, when during winter break, school officials will relocate students and staff to Radnor Elementary. That school, located eight miles away on River Road, is used by the school system as a holding school during renovations and constructions. The move will mean all student will require bus service.
The project is expected to take 18 months to complete, allowing students and staff to return to the new school in September 2016.
More than 57,000 square feet of the school’s 77,507 square-foot building will be demolished and replaced by an additional 73,282 square feet. In all the new school will total 93,040 square feet, according to the documents.
The original building was built in 1969 with more classrooms and a gym addition in 1974. A 20,000 classroom addition was built in 2007.
“Its time has passed,” Michela said. “It needs to be updated.”
Sean Gallagher, assistant director for the schools’ department of facilities management, said the current building is not energy efficient and many of the buildings systems were not upgraded in anticipation of the modernization plans.
Wayside’s current enrollment is 536, according to school documents. The current building has capacity for 670 students. The modernization project will actually decrease capacity by 30 students.
The school has the ability to expand to 740 students if need be in the future with classrooms built into the design, but not immediately constructed during the upcoming modernization project. The school’s core facilities like the cafeteria and all-purpose room will be sized for the 740-student full build-out, according to Jim Tokar, Montgomery County schools’ project manager for the Wayside project. School system estimates through 2019 predict a enrollment high of 547 students at Wayside.
Gained in the project will be a soft play area and indoor track with an atrium which can be used by the school Preschool Education Program and special education programs, Michela said.
The building is also expected to be LEED certified and include a security system that has controlled visitor access, according to the Moseley documents.
About 100 more parking spaces are on the plan as is an expanded student drop-off loop.
Tokar said the schools preliminary plans will next be turned into design documents with school system funding approval for construction voted on next spring.