Maryvale Elementary School Repairs Delayed; Renovations Postponed Again

Hard hats and hammers are being put away at nearby elementary schools as Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr’s six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) calls for a one-year delay for elementary school revitalization projects.

On Nov. 17, the Board of Education held a boundary and facility hearing to discuss the reconstruction date issues. The next day, the board voted to keep all secondary school projects on their current schedule. However, elementary school projects will continue to be delayed by one year.

Twenty schools in all have been planning to undergo renovations or expansions this year. Maryvale ES was scheduled for a complete teardown and went through the design process this spring. School administrators thought that it would be safe to set their completion date sometime in 2018; however, this is not the case, as the date was moved back a year due to the CIP.

Maryvale was first built as a middle school in 1969 and has not been renovated since. Today, the school has 584 students from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade. Despite the number of students, the much-needed renovations have been repeatedly pushed back since 2006.

“Having enough space doesn’t mean you have the right space,” Maryvale PTA President Melissa McKenna said in her testimony to the Board of Education. “Classroom configurations for different grades have been standardized over the years, but a middle school classroom is not appropriate for kindergarten or pre-K students.”

According to McKenna’s testimony, health issues are also a large concern for the school. There is asbestos in the health room, roaches and ant infestations in classrooms, mousetraps in the media center, poor air-quality, chipping paint and many dead birds and squirrels in both the courtyard and on the roof, she said.

At the Board of Education meeting, City of Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said, “High quality public schools are the pride of our flourishing neighborhoods.”

The nearby community also agrees that the young students should not be placed in an unfit environment such as Maryvale.

On the other hand, junior Elizabeth Hubbard, who used to attend Maryvale, thinks the delay is a positive thing. “I think it’s good that they realized there wasn’t going to be enough money to begin with instead of starting and having to stop halfway through because they could not afford it,” Hubbard said.