According to the Frederick County Public Schools’ 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan, the county’s 12th elementary school will open in the fall of 2018 with construction scheduled to begin in July 2017. The school will be constructed on a 20 acre site located adjacent to the Snowden Bridge development in Stephenson. The school site is also adjacent to 24 acres that are scheduled to be developed into a community park in the future. The sites for the school and community park were proffered to Frederick County by the developer of Snowden Bridge. To date, funds have only been appropriated for the design of the school. Additional action will be necessary by both the School Board and Board of Supervisors before
construction can begin.
Project Update (April 13, 2017)
At its meeting on April 12, 2017, the Frederick County Board of Supervisors approved a motion stating its willingness to consider a future appropriation of up to $27 million to construct a 12th elementary school at Snowden Bridge with a number of restrictions including: (1) the school will be a complete facility including all state standard elementary school programs, (2) there will be no unresolved VDOT comments or issues, (3) the Board of Supervisors will not be asked to appropriate any additional capital funding for the facility for a minimum of 15 years, and (4) if the capacity of the school is reduced below 600, all support areas will be designed and constructed to support the original capacity. On December 6, 2016, the School Board asked the Board of Supervisors to appropriate $30.9 million to allow for the construction of the 12th elementary school to proceed.
Project Update - Cost Reduction Efforts (March 2017)
In response to concerns voiced by individual members of the Frederick County Board of Supervisors about the estimated total project cost of the 12th elementary school, school staff worked to identify ways to reduce the cost of the project which as of January 16, 2017, totaled $34.6 million based on the 50 percent Construction Documents Cost Estimate. The reductions identified would reduce the estimated total project cost to $31.5 million and include:
- Reducing the size of the gym and the adjoining corridor by 2,747 square feet which would remove all bleacher seating in the gym. This change is estimated to save $689,622 in construction costs.
- Eliminating the preschool classrooms and related restrooms. This change will reduce the size of the building by 1,740 square feet and is estimated to save $436,740 in construction costs.
- Eliminating the multipurpose room. This change will reduce the size of the building by 976 square feet and is estimated to save $244,976 in construction costs.
- Converting the standing seam metal roof to ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. This change is estimated to save $226,552 in construction costs.
- Converting most ceilings to standard acoustical ceiling tile and grid. This change is estimated to save $206,151 in construction costs.
- Selecting lower quality light fixtures schoolwide. This change is estimated to save $272,951 in construction costs.
- Removing the payment bond from the construction contract. This change is estimated to save $130,742 in construction costs.
- Reducing interior and exterior glazing (a total of 3,760 square feet). This change is estimated to save $203,995 in construction costs.
- Changing simulated stone veneer to brick and replacing metal panels with brick, where possible. This change is estimated to save $169,668 in construction costs.
- Eliminating the possibility of using a photovoltaic system in the future and converting all roofs to flat roofs. These changes are estimated to save $155,000 in construction costs.
- Eliminating the teaching kitchen. The change will reduce the size of the building by 527 square feet. This change is estimated to save $132,277 in construction costs.
- Reducing the interior height of the gym to 26 feet. This change is estimated to save $102,080 in construction costs.
- Raising the site to achieve balanced cut and fill and converting shot rock into berms in order to avoid hauling offsite. This change is estimated to save $95,000 in construction costs.
- Eliminating the raised roof over the main entrance and providing a simpler structure. This change is estimated to save $75,000 in construction costs.
- Eliminating approximately 12,000 square feet of sidewalk by reducing the width and length of the sidewalks. This change is estimated to save $62,640 in construction costs.
- Removing elevator access to the mechanical equipment mezzanine. This change is estimated to save $42,000 in construction costs.
Redesign fees for the 12th elementary school are estimated at $275,000. Items for which estimated redesign fees exceeded expected savings were eliminated from consideration during the cost reduction effort. It should be noted that the estimated cost of the project will be impacted by construction inflation and interest rates which are expected to increase.
Project Update (December 2016)
Frederick County’s 12th elementary school is being designed by Grimm and Parker. Grimm and Parker developed the design for the building after conducting more than 40 meetings with stakeholders including students, parents, teachers, school administrators, members of the community at-large and residents of Snowden Bridge. After gathering input through the community engagement process, considering ways to improve building design based on lessons learned from past projects, and working with staff to better understand instructional best practices, the guiding principles for the school’s design were developed. They include:
- Students - Create a home for student-centered learning where students feel valued, safe and motivated to learn everyday.
- Pedagogy - Create learning environments that support collaborative, research-based instructional practices and facilitate communication, collaboration, critical thinking and citizenship.
- Inspiration - Create a place that inspires curiosity and innovative thinking, and engages teachers and students in their own learning throughout the entire school campus.
- Teachers/Staff - Create an environment where teachers feel valued and are able to collaborate across grade levels and content areas in spaces designed for them with a common vision to engage and motivate students to learn.
- Facility - Create a safe, welcoming, naturally daylit, open and transparent environment which facilitates and highlights student achievement and success, and is flexible and adaptable for changing educational needs.
- Community - Create a school that is a good neighbor and an extension of the community that honors the history of the local area while embracing the promise of a sustainable future.
- Furniture/Technology - Provide flexible and adaptable furniture and current relevant technology to create and support an inspired learning environment.
- Character - Create an environment that supports a holistic approach to learning that includes fitness, nutrition, discovery and inspires self-directed learning now and in the future.
The design of the 12th elementary school represents a departure from the educational philosophy represented in the design of Evendale, Gainesboro and Greenwood Mill elementary schools which opened in 2006, 2007 and 2009, respectively. The school, which will total 104,000 square feet and have a capacity of 600 students, has been designed as a two-story building that features four collaborative learning commons surrounded by learning studios (classrooms). There will be a total of 34 classrooms in the building. The facility also features a gymnasium, dining area, and library as well as administrative offices. The school has been designed in such a way that the classroom wing and the dining area have room for potential future expansion.
The school site will feature segregated access for school buses and vehicular traffic in order to promote student safety. Buses will access the school site off of Old Charles Town Road while other vehicles will access the school via Flyfoot Drive. A multi-purpose field and track as well as outdoor learning spaces will be part of the campus.