Last Saturday the DC Department of General Services (DGS) presented which of the final four options it selected for the location of the new Brookland Middle School. You can see the full presentation here. The chosen footprint is what many in the community assumed it would be before the “co-location” controversy started – on the same footprint of the now defunct Brookland Elementary School.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to Brookland Bridge readers that we are pleased that the co-location option was dropped. I also think that it makes sense that the only option that stays on budget was selected. The new pick up/drop off lane that will be added along the back of the school has always made a lot of sense to us from the options given as well. Here’s hoping that the school will be the state of the art institution that our students deserve – and that it is fully utilized over time.
Other than unveiling this site selection, there wasn’t much new information offered. The crowd of roughly 50 community members was smaller and less riled up than at previous meetings and the meeting was much shorter than previous ones as well. Once the announcement was made, questions turned to how immediate neighbors would be impacted, for example by parking, lighting, construction, rats, and other issues. DGS spokesperson Ken Diggs assured the crowd that the school “won’t be towering or overbearing” and added that underground parking is still an option that is on the table. When some wondered about the quality this smaller footprint would afford the Middle School students, Mr. Diggs responded that the school will be “fabulous”. Many other questions, for example about DC Parks and Recreation summer programs, were put off for future meetings. Notably, the groundbreaking of the new playground has been delayed and no solid information was given as to when these plans would be picked up again – and more importantly – what impact the school will have on the planned elements of the playground. Demolition of the current school building is set to begin in early summer and the new school is supposed to open in the fall of 2014. We will keep you up to date on any developments.