School relocation would displace Bowie YMCA, churches -- Gazette.Net







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A Bowie establishment for more than 35 years may have to move its office and programs this summer as organizations using the old Meadowbrook school may relinquish their real estate to displaced elementary students.

Tulip Grove Elementary officials are looking for a temporary two-year home as their school building will undergo construction at the end of this school year. The $22.9 million project will provide the school with new computer labs, art rooms and other changes. Bowie city and Tulip Grove officials have favored moving the Tulip Grove students to Meadowbrook as other temporary school options required the students travel up to 21 mile to Forestville or Temple Hills.

This has left the organizations using Meadowbrook — the Bowie Program Center of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, the Unity Center of Light and the Bowie Apostolic Church — wondering if their long-time offices will be shuttered. The Bowie YMCA has been at Meadowbrook since 1978.

This move could disrupt some of the services offered by these organizations, such as The Arc Childcare Program, which offers daily assistance to Prince George’s County special needs children.

“It is unfortunate if we have to move. The children need to go to a location they are familiar with,” said Jackie Dilworth, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington communications director, in reference to the YMCA’s special needs children.

Dilworth said the YMCA is looking for new locations in or near Bowie to ensure parents will have continued access to The Arc Childcare Program and the YMCA’s other services, such as summer camp.

They are hoping a move isn’t necessary and that the YMCA could share space with the Tulip Grove students, Dilworth said. The county government, which owns the building and operates as its landlord, has pledged to help the YMCA find a location fitting the organization’s needs.

“We don’t want to go too far and displace our parents,” Dilworth said. “But if the other elementary needs the space … we understand and are willing to work with them.”

The Unity Center of Light church said they haven’t identified a new location yet, but a move could disrupt church services. The church has used the building since 2001 and has an office, a library, space for food donations and a room for worship, said Patricia Anessi, Unity Center of Light church administrator.

“It would be pretty bad for us,” Anessi said. “To move a whole operation is a lot of work.”

Anessi said the church is looking for a nearby site, but hasn’t settled on anything yet, and church officials don’t know how much the move would cost.

Calls to the Bowie Apostolic Church were not returned by deadline.

The organizations don’t know when the move will take place because the county hasn’t given Tulip Grove approval to use the school, said Max Pugh, Prince George’s County Public School spokesman.

County officials said they are still working on a response to the public school system’s request.

“These are our Bowie school children and they deserve to go to a Bowie school,” said Councilwoman Diane Polangin (Dist. 2). “Meadowbrook is the least disruptive of all the choices.”