Friday, February 17, 2012

What does the 2011 "feasibility study" say about Rock Creek Hills Park? [repost]

Rock Creek Hills Park is unique among listed candidate sites for B-CC middle school #2 in that a "feasibility study" regarding the proposal to replace the park with a middle school complex has been completed. Given the expenditure of money, time, and effort on this feasibility study, it is prudent to ask: What does the 2011 feasibility study say about Rock Creek Hills Park as a potential middle school site? In fact, the feasibility study illuminates site deficiencies that are consequences of the decision made thirty years ago to deed one-third of the former Kensington Junior High School site to the Housing Opportunities Commission, which built the Kensington Park Retirement Community on much of the footprint of the old school. Consider:

The 2011 feasibility study shows that Rock Creek Hills Park is too small.
• In June, when the first design schematics were presented by Samaha Associates, the Virginia firm that was paid $67,500 to conduct the feasibility study, two of the three options presented routed school buses over basketball courts:

Busball, anyone? Early signs of struggles with the small site.

• In October, all three final feasibility study options used "overlaid" playing fields:

When is a soccer field not a soccer field? 
Whenever someone's playing softball.
When is a tennis court not a tennis court?
Whenever someone's running track.
(And when is a basketball court not a basketball court? 
When "portable classrooms" are parked on it.)

• In December, the Montgomery County Public Schools Director of Construction wrote that "none of the three [final feasibility study] options provide the 125 on-site parking [spaces] called for in the educational specifications".

The 2011 feasibility study shows that Rock Creek Hills Park has inadequate access.
One official site criterion is "access", which has four parts: Frontage on a primary (70 foot right-of-way) road; three access points; a separate service drive; community sidewalks.  The park fails to meet each of these elements, and in particular: 
• None of the three final feasibility study "options" have three access points;
• None of the three final feasibility study "options" have a separate service drive.

The 2011 feasibility study shows that the proposed construction would obliterate Rock Creek Hills Park.
• In July, the Montgomery County Parks Director said that construction would "obliterate" the park.
• In AugustMontgomery County Public Schools appeared to agree that "there's not going to be any trees left":

"... you're doing grading and adjusting the levels everyplace, 
so there's not going to be any trees left."

The 2011 feasibility study proposed a middle school that is too small to meet projected enrollment; to meet bus, faculty, parent and visitor parking; and to provide adequate playing fields. To accommodate 1200 students would require expansion, which will increase costs and limit sports programs even more. The site does not provide parity with other middle schools in the county.

No comments: