There’s also funding for public safety, libraries and parks.
Frederick, Md. (KM) – School projects make up the bulk of Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner’s proposed Capital Improvements Program for fiscal years 2023–2028. She unveiled her plan on Thursday during a public information briefing. “I believe every child deserves a safe place to go to school, and a seat inside a school building,” says Gardner. “Now to achieve that goal, I’ve delivered a greatly accelerated school construction schedule. I’m incredibly proud that my administration has made the largest investment in school facility improvements in the history of the county.”
Gardner pointed to Waverly Elementary School which is scheduled to open in August, 2022. “The new school is nearly triple in size with a student capacity of 1,018. It is by far our largest elementary school project ever. This larger Waverly Elementary School will solve severe overcrowding on the west side of the city of Frederick,” she says.
There’s also a new Brunswick Elementary School. “In fiscal year ’23–again, this upcoming July–construction will begin for a new 725-seat school located on the same site as the existing older school,” says Gardner. “The new Brunswick Elementary School will include the first Park and Recreation community gymnasium and park program for this part of the county.”
There are also two accelerated school construction projects. “The first is a brand new replacement Green Valley Elementary School in Monrovia which will be built in the Landsdae Development; and the other is a brand new replacement Valley Elementary School in Jefferson,” says Gardner. “These two schools are funded for design in ’23 with construction the following year. Both projects will follow the same construction timeline.”
Design work will also begin this year on a 300-seat expansion to Crestwood Middle School. “Now, thins school addition is 100% developer funded. There’s not a penny of taxpayer dollars in this addition,” Gardner says.
There will be limited renovation of Thurmont Elementary and Monocacy Elementary Schools. Gardner says these are older buildings which are not overcrowded, but could use some renovation work. Design work is already underway on Thurmont Elementary with construction set to take place during fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Monocacy Elementary School will undergo design work in fiscal year 2023, and construction will begin in fiscal year 2024.
The County Executive says there’s are two feasibility studies in the CIP. One is with Yellow Springs Elementary School. “And I’m pleased to advance a second feasibility study which is a big project: It is the entire Middletown school campus for all three schools: Middletown Elementary, Middletown Middle and Middletown High School; and we’ll look at the traffic pattern through the campus,” says Gardner.
It’s a total of nine school construction projects in the CIP.
There’s also funding for some public safety project, including the purchase of body cameras for Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputies; and a new medical center at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center. “This new medical unit will better serve the mental health and general health needs of inmates and provide more space to serve women. This project has been in the plans for a long time, and is certainly a welcome and needed improvement,” County Executive Gardner says.
She also says construction on the Northgate Fire Station is expected to be completed very soon, with a potential opening by Memorial Day. The CIP also contains plans for new fire stations for Green Valley and Carroll Manor Fire Companies.
There’s also a West Frederick public library which is planned for the former State Farm building on Himes Avenue, which the county purchased last year. “With this large property available for a branch library, the county can accelerate construction of the West Frederick Branch Library and build a project at a much lower cost because we own the land and the building and we’ll be renovating space rather than constructing new space. So this takes a couple million dollars off this project,” says Gardner.
The county says it’s saved $6.9-million dollars off their project. The building has also be discussed as a location for a new 911 center.
County Executive Gardner will hold a budget hearing on Monday, March 21st beginning at 7:00 PM. Seating will be limited to the first 25 people who register at FrederickCountyMD.gov/BudgetPublicHearing.
But the meeting will be broadcast on cable channels 19 and1085, and online at www.fFrederickCountyMD.gove/BudgetHearing. Citizens can call in their comments at 1-855-925-2801, and enter meeting code 2445.
Fiscal year 2023 begins on July 1st, 2022.
By Kevin McManus