While the Montgomery County budget crunch pushed back the much anticipated revitalization of Seneca Valley High School for one year, the project will not suffer further delays, according to Councilmember Craig Rice.
“Although it was a very painful decision to make, due to budget constraints, to delay Seneca Valley’s revitalization for one year,” said Rice. “Seneca Valley will continue to be on schedule. We will not let Seneca Valley slip. We are in the midst of our six-year Capital Improvement Budget, and I am looking forward to seeing it come to fruition as a brand new high school,” Rice told residents at a community meeting held Wednesday night at Northwest High School in Germantown.
In January 2015, the Board of Education unanimously approved the plans for the new school building which was accelerated the completion dates from the new school to August 2018 for the facility and 2019 for the site, but in July a countywide budget shortfall forced a $10 million cut to Montgomery County Public Schools and the Seneca Valley revitalization project was delayed for one year to August 2019 for the facility and 2020 for the site.
There is always a fear that project which has been pushed back for many years will once again be pushed back by the BOE due to what is expected to be another very difficult budget next year, Rice told residents, “It really is something that we understand that you can only do so much before you have to bite the bullet” and spend the money to build the new school.
Rice told the Germantown Pulse that he will be fighting to be sure that the Seneca Valley project remains on schedule to be completed by FY20 and will not be allowed to slip again.
The preliminary plans for the Seneca Valley High School revitalization/expansion project, which were approved in January, were developed based on the educational specifications prepared by MCPS. Through a series of public meetings, several design alternatives were developed and evaluated.
The new Seneca Valley will have a capacity of 2400 students, which will relieve overcrowding at neighboring Clarksburg High School and Northwest High School.
The new construction will move the school deeper towards the middle of the property, and the main parking lot and bus loop will enter from Crystal Rock Drive. The new football/soccer stadium will be moved closer to Great Seneca Highway, where the current practice field is. Staff parking will enter from Wisteria Drive. The southeast corner will be a new softball field, while the northwest corner will be a new baseball field. Tennis courts and basketball courts will be added along Middlebrook Road.
The preliminary plans call for the new school to have 54 standard classrooms, 16 science labs, two gymnasiums, seven physical education team rooms, six project/collaboration rooms, six science preparation rooms, four music practice rooms, three computer labs, four art rooms, two health classrooms, two School Community-based classrooms, a greenhouse, a darkroom, an auto technology room, a choral room, drama classroom, and a dance studio.
Video courtesy of MCPS.
Photo by Germantown Pulse.