We have been writing about the construction of the new Brookland Middle School (BMS) for over a year now. The latest twist in the sometimes controversial project played out over the weekend at an emergency meeting hosted by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie. This time around, the issue was some extreme construction hours sought by the Department of General Services (DGS) so that the project would stay on schedule and the school would open by August 2014.
The end result of the meeting is that DGS will stick to standard construction hours (7 AM – 7 PM, Monday through Saturday) and not pursue extended construction hours. On this time-table, the school should be completed in January 2015, ahead of the 2015-2016 school year. Here is the presentation from the meeting, held on Saturday, November 16th:
There has been a long fight to get quality middle schools in Ward 5, so this decision surely disappointed BMS supporters. Clearly, strong middle school options are needed to complete the elementary to high school bridge that keeps young families from having to leave the public school system or move out of DC altogether. However, a point that was reinforced at the meeting is that the delay will allow the DC Public School system time to market the school and hopefully that will result in a stronger enrollment. (Currently, nearby McKinley Tech Middle School is only 60% enrolled.) The next community meeting about the school will be held in February of 2014. For those of you that have missed it, here is a pretty cool animation of what the school will be like: