Piney Branch Elementary School Addition and Pool
Piney Branch Elementary School Expansion and Feasibility Study
Montgomery County Public School officials are discussing ways to address the growing school-aged population in the County in the context of its Capital Improvement Plan for school facilities. MCPS has conducted a feasibility study of Piney Branch Elementary School (PBES) to evaluate space needs and options for addressing those needs, including trade-offs and costs. Community meetings were held in early 2017.
October 22, 2021
From the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2023 Capital Budget and the FY 2023–2028 Capital Improvements Program:
Piney Branch Elementary School Capital Project: Piney Branch Elementary School is located on the smallest site in the county at 1.9 acres and there is little to no room for relocatable classrooms to accommodate overutilization at the school. To address the current and projected overutilization at the school, an addition project was
approved at Piney Branch Elementary School. The County Council approved an FY 2017 appropriation for facility planning to conduct a feasibility study to determine the feasibility, scope, and cost of the project. An FY 2020 appropriation was approved to construct this project with a completion date of August 2021. Due to the complexity of the Piney Branch Elementary School addition project, including the need for a comprehensive facility upgrade to address the aging infrastructure, the approved FY 2021–2026 CIP removed the expenditures for the Piney Branch Elementary School addition from the six-year CIP. Instead, the school is identified in the next set of schools in the Major Capital Projects. An FY 2023 appropriation is recommended to begin the architectural design for this major capital project; however, no construction funds are included in the FY2023–2028 CIP. Therefore, a TBD completion date will be shown until construction funds are approved in a future CIP.
The MCPS FY21 Capital Budget was released in December 2019. The plan for Piney Branch Elementary School states:
A comprehensive capacity study to address overutilization at several elementary schools in the lower section of the Downcounty Consortium was conducted during the 2014-2015 school year. This capacity study included the following schools: East Silver Spring, Forest Knolls, Highland View, Montgomery Knolls, New Hampshire Estates, Oak View, Takoma Park, Pine Crest, Piney Branch, Rolling Terrace, Sligo Creek and Woodlin Elementary schools.
Based on revised enrollment projections, enrollment at Piney Branch Elementary School will exceed 125 seats by the end of the six-year planning period. Piney Branch Elementary School is located on the smallest site in the county at 1.9 acres and there is little to no room for relocatable classrooms to accommodate overutilization at the school. Therefore, the Board of Education’s Requested FY2017-2022 CIP included a five classroom addition for this school to address the space deficit. The County Council’s adopted FY2017-2022 CIP includes funding for this project, with planning to begin in FY 2019. An FY 2019 appropriation was approved to begin planning this addition. An FY 2020 appropriation was approved for construction funds.
During the planning and design phase of this project, it was determined that there were a number of challenges, including site constraints to complete this project. The KFI assessment for this facility also points to the need for a comprehensive facility upgrades. Therefore, the requested FY 2021-2026 CIP removes the approved expenditures for this addition project and, instead, identifies Piney Branch Elementary School as part of the next set of schools in the Major Capital Projects project. The requested FY 2021-2026 CIP does not include any expenditures for this project; however, future expenditures will be considered as part of the next full CIP cycle.
The Board of Education has included funds for design and construction in the FY2019 Capital Budget and the FY 2019–2024 Capital Improvements Program:
To address the current and projected over-utilization at the school, an addition project was approved at Piney Branch Elementary School with a completion date of September 2021. An FY 2017 appropriation for facility planning was approved to conduct a feasibility study to determine the feasibility, scope and cost of the project. An FY 2019 appropriation is recommended to begin the architectural design for an addition project. The recommended completion date is September 2021. In order for this project to be completed on this schedule, county and state funding must be provided at the levels recommended in this CIP.
For further information, including links to meeting materials, please visit the PBES Addition Project page on the Montgomery County Puclic Schools website or contact Gary D. Mosesman, Project manager.
Options for a Pool in Takoma Park
One option under consideration as part of the school expansion study is to close the pool at PBES to make way for additional classroom space. While the City recognizes the need for classroom expansion, the Takoma Park City Council has raised concerns that expansion at PBES could mean that the pool might be shut down permanently without a plan for replacement.
Project Info & Timeline
- Target completion date: On hold
- Takoma Park’s role in project: Liaison for city residents
- Departments involved: Housing and Community Development
Budget & Funding Source
Budget: Not determined
Funding Source: Montgomery County Public Schools
Links & Notes
Montgomery County Public Schools Current Capital Projects:
Piney Branch Elementary School Additional Project
Takoma Park City Council — April 12, 2017:
Agenda — Presentation of Piney Branch Elementary School Feasibility Study
Feasibility Study Slides
Feasibility Letter to County Executive (February 3, 2017)
Montgomery County Public School’s Piney Branch Elementary Expansion Project Page (includes links to presentations and meeting materials and minutes)
Letter from Takoma Park City Council, Washington Adventist Hospital, Washington Adventist University, and Montgomery College to County Executive Leggett Advocating for an Aquatics Center in Takoma Park (October 25, 2016)
Briefing on the Board of Education’s Requested CIP Budget (December 14, 2015 Presentation to Council)