A small portion of Kelley Park, a 28-acre amenity featuring three ballfields, playgrounds, tennis courts, sand volleyball and open space, has been proposed by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) as a site for a new elementary school in the Gaithersburg Cluster. The park is known locally for hosting the Gaithersburg Giants (a Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League) during the summer months.
A Site Selection Advisory Committee was convened in 2017, consisting of representatives from MCPS, Montgomery County, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Gaithersburg, Montgomery Village, Washington Grove, Montgomery County Council of PTAs and the NAACP. The Selection Committee unanimously selected Kelley Park after evaluating potential sites based on criteria such as location within the Gaithersburg Cluster; acreage and topography; access and utilities; physical condition; availability and timing; and cost.
As proposed, the school building would be situated on 3 to 4 acres of land, with a total of 7 to 9 acres potentially being utilized for shared facilities and fields. MCPS has not presented any plan indicating exact acreage, as the site is still being studied by MCPS’s architectural firm. A formal proposal is expected in the 4th quarter of 2019.
While security guidelines are expected to limit access to school grounds during school hours, the remainder of the park would be available during the school day. The full site would be available during non-school hours. Siting and operation under a shared use agreement would be similar to that of the Lakelands Park Middle School, adjacent to the City-owned Lakelands Park.
Submission of Comments
Comments or questions on this project may be directed to Seth Feriano, Project Manager, Division of Construction, Montgomery County Public Schools, at 240-314-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments to Mayor & City Council on this proposal may either be mailed to: 31 South Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877, or emailed to email@example.com.
Click headers below to read past status updates.
Following a presentation by City Manager Tomasello, the Mayor & City Council discussed at length the many facets of the proposed agreement to locate Gaithersburg Elementary School #8 on the Kelley Park site. Council members stressed the need to balance community concerns with overcrowding issues, and ultimately voted (4 - 1) in favor of authorizing the City Manager to execute an agreement with Montgomery County Public Schools to locate Gaithersburg Elementary School #8 on a portion of Kelley Park.
MCPS has informed the City they are beginning the boundary study for Gaithersburg Elementary School #8 and will be holding two initial meetings: Monday, March 2, at the Gaithersburg Middle School and Tuesday, March 3, at Forest Oak Middle School. Both meetings will begin at 7 p.m. and will cover the same information. Additional information & list of subsequent meetings can be found here.
MCPS has scheduled a series of Schematic Design meetings as detailed in the attached MCPS Community Meeting Notification.
The City received three communications from Montgomery County Public Schools. The first was a letter from Chief Operating Officer Andrew Zuckerman dated April 3, 2019. Mr. Zuckerman updated the City on both the Kelley Park site and the proposed alternate site at Victory Farm Park, and noted some next steps. Mr. Zuckerman also expressed appreciation regarding City staff’s participation in the architectural selection process. It is important to note that staff did not vote to select any particular firm and was present only to observe the proceedings and answer any questions that might have arisen.
The second was a summary analysis prepared by MCPS of the Victory Farm Park Environmental Study, completed by Norton Land Design (an environmental and land design consultant). Norton Land Design was hired to review and assess environmental features of the Victory Farm Park site.
The third document was the Victory Farm Environmental Study (attached in its entirety), which provides a detailed account of the site’s physical features.
MCPS staff held panel interviews with four potential architectural firms. It is anticipated that a recommendation will be presented to the Board of Education at a board meeting in April or May.
City Manager Tomasello participated in a conference call with MCPS Division of Construction staff to review the potential points of negotiation outlined in the City’s letter of November 5, 2018. This was done to familiarize MCPS staff with the City’s positions preliminary to selection of an architectural firm by MCPS. Emphasis was placed on the need for public participation in the proposed project, environmental design and that funding for site amenities must be concurrent with funding for the proposed elementary school.
November 5, 2018
The City sent a letter to MCPS regarding potential discussion points for the next meeting with MCPS.
August 27, 2018
City & MCPS staff met informally to provide updates subsequent to the June 4, 2018, Mayor & City Council meeting and to discuss process moving forward.
June 4, 2018
The City Council passed a motion to grant the City Manager authority to enter into negotiations with MCPS regarding Kelley Park, as well as to introduce Victory Farm Park as an alternate site for MCPS consideration.
March 22, 2018
The Board of Education approved the Superintendent’s recommendation.
February 26, 2018
The Superintendent supported the Site Selection Advisory Committee’s recommendation.
January 11, 2018
The Site Selection Advisory Committee published a report recommending Kelley Park as the proposed site for the Gaithersburg Cluster’s new elementary school and identifying the WSSC maintenance facility as an alternate site.
The MCPS Site Selection Advisory Committee convened and initially identified 14 potential sites. Five were determined to be “not feasible” and were eliminated. The nine remaining sites were individually analyzed based on specific criteria.