School May Be Razed

This+park%2C+belonging+to+Mark+Twain+MS%2C+now+known+as+the+Blair+G.+Ewing+Center%2C+is+near+the+site+of+the+proposed+bus+depot.+The+middle+school+holds+an+alternative-education+program+that+might+be+moved+to+another+location.+--Camila+Torres

This park, belonging to Mark Twain MS, now known as the Blair G. Ewing Center, is near the site of the proposed bus depot. The middle school holds an alternative-education program that might be moved to another location. --Camila Torres

This park, belonging to Mark Twain MS, now known as the Blair G. Ewing Center, is near the site of the proposed bus depot. The middle school holds an alternative-education program that might be moved to another location. --Camila Torres
This park, belonging to Mark Twain MS, now known as the Blair G. Ewing Center, is near the site of the proposed bus depot. The middle school holds an alternative-education program that might be moved to another location. –Camila Torres

Many Rockville parents are fighting the MCPS proposal to turn the Montgomery County Alterna tive Education Program hosted by the Blair Ewing Center on Avery Road into a bus depot for hundreds of county school buses.

The Manor Lake Civic Asso ciation sent out an email Jan. 10 informing the Manor Lake commu nity of the proposal, stating that it is “On Montgomery County’s fast track a�� [and] should have our im mediate attention and input.” The email stated that it came about through amendments to the MCPS Capital Improvement Program that took place in mid-November.

This came as a surprise to the community. David Rowden, a lead er of the residential group working to save the Blair Ewing Center, said, “The community found out about it only three days before the public hearing to discuss it. a�� It was kind of accidental how the community found out about it, a through-the-grape vine type thing. There was no community involvement what soever.”

Rowden and other community members discovered that there were significant issues with the county’s proposal. One of the central issues was in regards to the relocation of the Alternative Education program from the Blair Ewing Center to Eng lish Manor ES on Bauer Drive.

The programs typically serve students who have behavioral or at tendance problems, as well as “stu dents who have been involved with controlled substances, serious in jury or weapons,” according to the Washington Post.

There were $16.6 million al located to improve the Blair Ewing Center, and the county and was pleased with the improvement of the program over the last few years.

“The teachers were nice and understanding and whenever we needed to just get out and stop do ing work, we watched a movie or walked around the school or even went to the gym to play football or basketball a�� my time there was fun and I didn’t really mind it. I went to school at 8 and got out 12,” a current Rockville senior said, who previ ously attended the Alternative-Ed ucation program.

The current Shady Grove bus depot is 35.5 acres, and is cramming 400 buses and 700 vehicles overall into a lot that only has 234 parking spots. The county decided that they need to find a location that is a min imum of 33 to 37 acres. Although the Ewing Center has 22.5 acres of land, there are seven acres of forest con servation around the building. This leaves only 15 or 16 acres that could actually be used for the depot.

Another prime concern of the residents is that the relocation of the depot to Avery Road has the po tential to cause environmental and traffic congestion issues. The move ment of 400 buses to and from the depot four times a day would cause extreme disruption and pollution to the neighborhood.