Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"... I don't think you can take and compare this site to Westland's site ..."

Many people have expressed concerns that Rock Creek Hills Park is inadequate to build a middle school that would provide parity with its B-CC sister school, Westland. At the third meeting of the "feasibility study" process, last Wednesday, Mr. Paul Falkenbury of Samaha Associates displayed several "options". A committee member requested* that MCPS compare those options to what exists today at Westland. Eventually, MCPS did agree to provide, at the next meeting, such quantitative comparisons. However, here is the revealing initial response from MCPS's Mr. Dennis Cross:

"... I don't think you can take and compare this site to Westland's site ..."

*A transcript, from the July 13th meeting (a three-minute video beginning with this exchange is available):
Q: "This may be an easy question... I'm having a difficult time visualizing how all this lays out on this piece of property, but a lot of us are familiar with Westland, because we've either had students go there, or will. When you do these [design options], would you compare the size of the drop-off lanes or the parking lot or the cafeteria or whatever to what we currently have at Westland? I think it's important to help us visualize how much of a footprint this is going to take up. Also it would help us to compare this school to the sister school, Westland, because that may be important to parents in any part of the cluster, considering I don't think anybody knows where their students are going to go to school. For example, ... compare the size of the parking lots from this one to Westland. The drop off area for the buses, the number of buses, those kind of things, even the athetic fields I think, would be important to us to have a comparison of what exists now to what this school will have... I'm having a difficult time visualizing this thing plastered right there. In the three-dimensional diagrams, it looks like it's kind of small, like it really fits in there quite nicely. But when you look at the aerial view, it's taking up every inch of property. And I'm not sure how that compares to what the students currently have."

A: "I hear what you're saying and I can see some benefit to Westland, but I don't think you can take and compare this site to Westland's site, there's just..." [waves hands]

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