Thursday, June 9, 2011

Long Reach Middle School: 40 Years in the Waiting

A Middle School in the Long Reach has been "promised" to its residents as early as the first homes were built in 1971. Funding and construction was delayed for decades and the final nail in the coffin for Long Reach Middle was the usage of is site Long Reach High School. Today, Middle School Students living in Long Reach are all bused elsewhere whether it be to Bonnie Branch, Mayfield Woods, or Owen Brown Middle Schools.
Most of Long Reach, in the case of its assigned Middle School puts the Village in the "Northeast Category" of the planning map rather than "Columbia East". In addition to Mayfeild Woods and Bonnie Branch, the Northeast Middle Schools are Elkridge Landing and Ellicott Mills. All four Middle Schools are experiencing overcrowding as are Middle Schools in the Southeast (Murray Hill and Patuxent Valley.) Most of this growth can attributed to new development along the Route 1 corridor. The over crowded conditions in so many Middle Schools on the County's Eastern Edge warrants a new Middle School in that area. The County has planned for this and its expected opening date is the 2015-2016 School Year. Next comes the painstaking process of finding a suitable site.
The way the Route 1 corridor is configured it would be impossible to build one with a large Student Walker Base in fact all of the Middle Schools in the Northeast except Mayfield Woods have a very small number (if any) Student Walkers. That makes for a lot of buses. Now where in the Northeast can we relieve crowding in existing Schools by building a new School and at the same time drastically cutting down on the number of Students bussed to far away Schools?
This is where my idea of resurrecting Long Reach Middle School comes into play. Long Reach, has a dense population especially in the Locust Park and Phelps Luck Neighborhoods. Kendall Ridge also produces a large number of Middle School Students as well.
If Long Reach were to have a Middle School built between the Village Center and the High School, close to the entire Student Population would walk!
Given the preexisting pathways Columbia has been blessed with, only the eastern edge of Kendall Ridge (Summer Cloud Way) pictured above and the northern edge of Phelps Luck (the area closest to Phelps Luck Elementary) would warrant a bus. Also included in the Long Reach boundary line is the Montgomery Run and Shipley's Grant Neighborhoods. Given their location across Route 108 they will have to be bussed. Both pictured below.
With Mayfield Woods and Bonnie Branch not serving Long Reach anymore there's room for them to provide relief for other crowded Schools.
The Rockburn/Lynwood Square Neighborhood can be redistricted from Elkridge Landing to Bonnie Branch.
The northern section of Jessup can be redistricted from Patuxent Valley to Mayfeild Woods.Hammond Middle would provide relief to Murray Hill.
The rebuilt and modernized Oakland Mills Middle will provide relief to Ellicott Mills. Jeffers Hill will remain at Owen Brown also slated for a rebuild and modernization.
Now that I've provided a district for Long Reach Middle and Neighboring Schools, I guess it's time I focused on the site I've selected for it. It's located on Tamar Drive between Foreland Garth and Old Dobbin Lane. There's a small cemetery on the site whose entrance will have to be re located to the stub of Old Montgomery Road that skirts the site's southern border. The School itself will have a capacity of 662 which is the capacity for all new Howard County Middle Schools and its design will mimic that of Ellicott Mills Middle shown below.
From the time the Village of Long Reach was first built in 1971, residents were promised a Middle School. Lack of funding and the availability of larger sites outside of the Village and the original site now being used as a High School, it's easy to see why 40 years later residents of Long Reach think they will never have a Middle School to call their own. But I think 40 years is long enough to wait. Don't You?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Modernization III 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019

Well it's been fun but this is the final phase of Modernizing any and all Columbia Schools. I set an ambitious date of January 1st, 2020 for all work to be complete and it appears that I've met that goal. In order to Modernize these last two Schools, they will have to be broken up by sub districts and taken to one of the three holding Schools. Well here come the final Modernizations!
Our first School is in Kings Contrivance. In Phase II I opened two new Elementary Schools in Kings Contrivance on sites that were Master Planned for such Schools when the Village was first planned. Also in the original plan for Kings Contrivance, there was a site next to Hammond High meant for a Middle School. I think instead of modernizing the existing Hammond Middle, the "replacement" Hammond Middle should be built on the Kings Contrivance Site and named Kings Contrivance Middle. This will allow for a larger percentage of the population to walk to School and will ultimately save on long range transportation costs.

The new building will be next door to Hammond High and Kings Contrivance Village Center on Guilford Road with the Ball Fields backing to Weather Worn Way. Capacity will be set at 662 as are all new Howard County Middle Schools. Students will not have to use a Holding School during construction they will remain at Hammond Middle while Kings Contrivance Middle and the new Hammond Elementary are built in the 2016-2017 School Year.
Since the last two Schools to be modernized are large High Schools, one Holding School can't hold all students in fact two Holding Schools can't either, we will have to use all three for different sub districts. Atholton High, built in 1966 is due in the existing Capital Budget for Systemic Renovations. I on the hand, think it's high time for a full blown Modernization.
Atholton has had a lot of additions over the years but still looks ancient. I think for the most part the School Building has reached the end of its life cycle at 45 years of age. Atholton received an addition in 2003 which will be spared and renovated while the rest of the School is torn down and rebuilt.
During the modernization, Atholton will be broken up in three sub districts which will determine which Holding School one will attend during the year of construction (2016-2017)
At the Clarksville Holding Center will house all Students attending Atholton living in the Pointers Run Section of River Hill and the Fulton/Clarksville.
The Cradlerock Holding Center will house all Students attending Atholton living in Simpsonville, Clemens Crossing, Hawthorn, and Rivers Edge.

The Old Elkridge Holding Center will house all Students attending Atholton living in Scaggsville and Emerson.
When Atholton re opens it will be under a new name; "Hickory Ridge High" the new building will boast a new Auditorium, Cafeteria, Media Center, Science Labs, Fine Arts Studios, Auxiliary Gym, Computer Labs, Home Economics, Technology Education, and a new Front Office and Guidance Office. Capacity will be set at 1500.
Summer 2017 Long Reach High will undergo Systemic Renovations


This School Year's Modernization will operate similarly to that of the Atholton Hickory Ridge High. The School in the hot seat this time?
Hammond High opened in 1976 to a mostly rural district which has since experienced a constant boom in growth. Hammond received an addition in 1996 which will be spared in the School's Modernization.Despite the Systemic Renovation in 1998 the School is too small and dated. Like Athtolton, it will need all three Holding Schools for its large population.
The Clarksville Holding Center will house all Hammond High Students living in Kings Contrivance.
The Cradlerock Holding Center will house all Hammond High Students living in Savage, Bowling Brook Farms, Stone Lake, and Emerson.

The Old Elkridge Holding Center will house all Hammond High Students living in Jessup.
The New Building like Atholton will also be renamed "Kings Contrivance High" and will boast a new Gym, Auxiliary Gym, Auditorium, Fine Arts Studios, Cafeteria, Media Center, Computer Labs, Science Labs, Home Economics, Technology Education, Day Care Center, Front Office, and Guidance Office. Capacity will be set at 1500.
Summer 2018 Wilde Lake High will undergo Systemic Renovations
2018-2019 This may or may not occur. Depending the enrollment of Pointers Run, Tridelphia Ridge, and Dayton Oaks, Clarksville Elementary may open as a regular School Again. Since it's in the Columbia Area, it will be modernized before that can happen (modernized building pictured above). If not it can hold the Offices that were housed at the Old Cedar Lane School that was demolished to make room for the new Harpers Choice Middle. It could also hold offices that were vacated when the Faulkner Ridge Center was vacated. Why was it vacated? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Modernization Phase II: 2014-2015, 2015-2016

With Phase I of the Columbia School Modernizations an all around success, lets not waste any time in getting Phase II underway. Like Phase I, Phase II will be a mixture of partial and complete rebuilds depending on the condition of the School and if there any recent additions built. There may also be new Pools and Neighborhoods built as the existing ones may be sacrificed to make way for new construction. Something new for Phase II will be the complete relocation of two Elementary Schools ie not being built on their current sites. So without further adieu, here's Phase II.
We'll start the 2014-2015 School Year at the Clarksville Elementary Holding School. In Phase I, Clarksville was large enough to hold two Schools at once, this year time not so much. In Phase I, it was Elementary Schools, this time it's Middle Schools.
The first School in Phase II will be Harpers Choice Middle. Site constraints had to be considered when modernization Harpers Choice with the School being "land locked" for lack of a better term. My solution? Demolish the "Old Cedar Lane School" to make run. I only did a partial demolition here.
The new Harpers Choice be more compact with two maybe three stories. A new thing to introduce to Howard County Middle Schools will be Auxiliary Gyms, and the new Harpers Choice will have one.
Part of the new construction will be a new Science Wing, Main Gym, Media Center, Computer Labs, Front Office Suite, Fine Arts Wing, and Multi Purpose Room. Capacity will be set at 662, a number Harpers Choice has reached in the past and will likely do so again as its feeder Elementary Schools are experiencing major growth.
Across town at the Cradlerock Holding School, the facility will hold three East Columbia Schools in the 2014-2015 School Year. Oakland Mills Middle and Jeffers Hill Elementary will be completely rebuilt while Phelps Luck will have its 1998 addition spared.
Although enrollment at Oakland Mills Middle is low currently, the numbers show growth in the coming years. Coupled with redistricting from overcrowded Schools in the Northeast and Southeast, Oakland Mills could soon see a growth rate of up to 50%. Built in 1972, Oakland Mills Middle is not easy on the eyes. It will be more of an eye sore when the massive Oakland Mills Redevelopment effort goes into effect and nothing were to be done with the School.
Modernization of Oakland Mills Middle will include a complete tear down and rebuild. The new School like Harpers Choice will contain an Auxiliary Gym, a Science Lab Wing, and a Fine Arts Wing.
These are all things that the current Oakland Mills lacks. Capacity will be set at an ambitious 662. Feeder Elementary School Growth suggests that this won't be wasted space.
Also at the Cradlerock holding School during the 2014-2015 School Year will be Jeffers Hill Elementary. Like Oakland Mills Middle a lot of the housing nearby will be redeveloped as part of the Long Reach Redevelopment Plan. This will skew enrollment projections which remain stubbornly low. I think new housing will produce higher numbers as well as redistricting from Waterloo and possibly Talbott Springs to Jeffers Hill.Also with a new building, existing residents may be more likely to send their kids to their Public School rather than a private School. I think Jeffers Hill residents have avoided their Neighborhood School because of the County's disinvestment in the area.
So that's why in addition to the brand new School, there will be a brand new Neighborhood Center and Pool as well. Figuring all this in, I have set the Capacity for the Jeffers Hill at an ambitious 528. Currently Jeffers Hill doesn't serve PreK in its District, I think the addition of PreK will relieve crowding at Talbott Springs where Jeffers Hills sends its PreK Students.
The last School at Cradlerock for the 2014-2015 School Year will be Phelps Luck Elementary. Enrollment here has sky rocketed from just under 500 in 2005 to the current 671. Projections don't see enrollment droppping in th next deacde so a larger Phelps Luck is very much in order.
Unlike most Schools in East Columbia, Phelps Luck got a little attention from the County, it received additions in 1989 and 1998 that will be spared. The addition from 1998 will be renovated into a Kindergarten wing while the 1989 addition will be demolished with the rest of the School.
Everything else will be new construction. Parking lot and bus lane expansions will require a new Neighborhood Center and Pool. Capacity for the new Phelps Luck will be set at 728 almost 200 seats larger than the current School. With crowding the way it is here I think 728 is a very realistic capacity.

At the old Elkridge Elementary, Students from the accient Guilford Elementary will be housed here for the 2014-2015 School Year.
Guilford was built in 1954 and has seen its share of renovations and additions. Guilford will be torn down but not rebuilt on the current Oakland Mills Road site.
That site will be traded with the County to expand the their redevelopment of Guilford Gardens doubling the number of affordable housing units at that site. The new "Guilford" Elementary will be on Volmerhausen Road in Kings Contrivance's Huntington Neighborhood.
This site was once considered to be an Elementary School for Hunington before Bollman Bridge was built. Bollman Bridge will be redistricted to cater to the Jessup area while Huntington will cater to students in Huntington and Guilford. Transportation costs may be reduced as the entire Huntington Neighborhood is bused currently and with a new Elementary School, the vast majority will walk.
Huntington Elementary will have a Capcity of 588.
During the Summer Time, Patuxent Valley Middle will undergo Systemic Renovations and Restroom Renovations as it will now be 26 years old. River Hill High will undergo Restroom Renovations.

The 2015-2016 School Year will see its share of Modernizations, Rebuilds, and Relocations just like the year before.
Well, no time like the present, here we are at Clarksville Elmentary again. This may be the first time since the Dasher Green/Owen Brown Rebuild that Students will be able to walk to their holding School. Clarksville Middle will be the School modernized this year and its Students will be held at its name sake Elementary.The Elementary School is located in the Clarksville Middle District next to River Hill High. Clarksville Middle was built in 1979 and received an addition in 2004. The 2004 addition will be spared and original building will be demolished. The 2004 addition will be renovated to match the new construction and will have a lot more windows than it currently does.The new Clarksville Middle will have a capacity of 662 just like its predecessor but it will be larger featuring an Auxiliary Gym, Science Lab Wing, and Fine Arts Wing, all things the current Clarksville Middle lacks. Also part of the new construction will be a new Main Gym, Media Center, Computer Labs, Cafeteria, and Front Office Suite.
Meanwhile across Route 29 at Cradlerock, the Population of Wilde Lake Middle will be housed here during the 2015-2016 School Year.
Now we come to another Alma Mater of mine; Wilde Lake Middle. It makes sense since last post I revealed I went to Running Brook Elementary. Two interesting things happened during my tenure at Wilde Lake Middle (1995-1998). Wilde Lake Middle underwent a Systemic Renovation over the summers and next door we watched Wilde Lake High fall to the ground and rise again. As we watched the rebuilding of Wilde Lake High (which I went on to attend) we all felt short changed because our School wasn't getting a new Building and our renovation caused for further crowding over the years. Wilde Lake Middle has a capacity of 506 which is about what the enrollment was back then. However, when I entered as a naive 6th grader the School was a relic in a failed Education Concept known as "Open Classrooms." The systemic renovation that ended in 1998 changed the floor plan of the School but no addition was built. What it did was it added more classrooms with smaller capacities which in turn resulted in narrow hallways. With half the Student Population (myself included) ready to fight at the drop of a hat, these tight quarters
made for a violent three years.
There are plans in the works for an addition at Wilde Lake Middle but that's too little too late. Wilde Lake Middle will be the sole Middle School for all the new housing in Town Center with projected enrollments soaring way past 600 and approaching 700 by 2020. It's time every last outdated brick of the current Wilde Lake Middle fall to the ground. I wouldn't shed a single tear.
The new Wilde Lake Middle, in addition to its current features being larger, taller, and wider it will now have an Auxiliary Gym, a Science Lab Wing, and a Fine Arts Wing. The capacity of 662 will show a large Cafeteria, a newly equipped Media Center, a Computer Lab that's the size of the current Media Center, a State of the Art Tech Ed Room with a full supply of lumber all year round, and a new Home-EC Kitchen with working appliances.

At the old Elkridge Elementary, another aged over populated School will be replaced.Atholton Elementary, built in 1961 will have a fate similar to Guilford or should I say Huntington. Atholton's Seneca Drive location will be traded with Parks and Rec to expand Atholton Park and in return the School System will get the site once was considered for a Dickinson Elementary.Dickinson Elementary will be a reality after all! Why? Because it of the long term transportation savings. Dickinson which will walk to its new Elementary School is denser with a larger Population (that's currently bused to Guilford but redistricting will take care of that.) than McGills Common and Allview Estates that currently walk to Atholton Elementary.
Atholton Elementary only has a capacity of 387. In the 2006-2007 it had 418 Students but now that number has spiked to 480 with a consistent rise in enrollment for the coming years. The new Dickinson Elementary will have a capacity of 554.

Over the summer of 2016, Mayfield Woods Middle will undergo systemic renovations and rest room renovations.

Well that concludes Phase II of modernizing every School in Columbia. Stay tuned for Phase III, The Final Phase!