Hyattsville Elementary Relocation Effort (HERE) + NOW

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Petition Summary:

In light of Hyattsville Elementary School’s (HES) deteriorating conditions, overcrowding, lack of green space, and the county’s repeatedly delayed actions, we seek to direct Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) to:

  1. Conduct a feasibility study at HES to identify problems and solutions in order to improve conditions for students and the community; and
  2. Identify and explore other potential sites for HES within Hyattsville, focusing on areas within HES’s boundaries to preserve the neighborhood feel of the school that the community so deeply values.

These items need to be commenced promptly, so that they are completed far enough in advance to ensure proper budgeting.

The Problems We're Facing

Overcrowding
The school is currently operating at almost 140% capacity. Five temporary classroom buildings, which are also in poor condition, currently occupy a significant portion of the playground area. The cafeteria, library/media space, and restroom facilities are inadequate for the number of students. Interior spaces not designed for use as full-time classrooms now hold classes, limiting available space for storage, pull-out services, and other needed facilities.  While struggling to meet basic educational program space needs, the over-utilized space does not support greater community functions - a priority Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) highlights in their recent video.

Obsolete systems
The latest addition to the building was made in 1979. The mechanical systems are inadequate, resulting in widely varying temperatures throughout the school. Pipes have burst on a regular basis during winter months. Technological infrastructure is not adequate for the 21st century.

Inadequate green space
The playground space provided for HES consists of an undersized playground and black top. There is minimal green space and no shade. The outdoor space is further reduced by the five temporary classroom buildings.

Delayed...again
Facilities were evaluated in 2015 in the PGCPS Master Plan Support Project , and HES was originally slated for significant renovation/addition or replacement beginning in fiscal year 2018 because of “deteriorated conditions,” “educational adequacy issues,” and “planning area overcrowding.” According to the 2018 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the completion date was listed as 2021. In the proposed FY 2019–2024 CIP, the completion date is further delayed to 2022.

Future enrollment projections
Development in Hyattsville is thriving. Projects like the upcoming UIP apartments (http://www.urbaninvestmentpartners.com/project/hyattsville/), which is in pre-development for a 285-unit mixed-use project will have an additional impact on school enrollment. The site of the old WSSC building and its parking lot next to Magruder Park is under contract by Werrlein Properties to add 14 single family homes and over 70 townhomes. http://hyattsvillelife.com/major-development-proposed-for-wssc-building-site/ 

 Action

Start Feasibility Study for HES
Completing a feasibility study will identify the problems that need to be addressed at HES and begin evaluating possible solutions so that an appropriate budget and timeline can be determined. A design team and professional consultants will evaluate the condition and educational adequacy of the existing facility and explore the feasibility of keeping and renovating 50–100% of the existing building; replacing 50–100% of the existing building; or a combination of renovation and replacement/addition.

Identify and Explore Other Potential Sites in Hyattsville
The current site of HES occupies 2.1 acres. It has extremely limited on-site parking, no playing fields, and has an undersized playground. There is no room to do a phased renovation or replacement on the current site, which means during construction, students would need to be bused to a swing space location.

HES is a quintessential neighborhood school where there are less than a handful of bus riders because all students live within walking distance. It’s a place where your friends at school are your neighbors at home. If a more distant site were being evaluated, that identity would be lost and the sense of community would be significantly diminished. The school community also has significant concerns that any delays in project construction could mean students would never get to go to school in their own town. Therefore, we are asking that PGCPS identify and explore other sites for a new school within HES’s boundaries in the event the feasibility study recommends replacement/addition. We also urge PGCPS to consider varying school facility models that can meet children’s educational needs while fitting within a space-constricted urbanized environment. We request that PGCPS present those findings to the community in a public forum, as well as in a report, in order to engage the community in the process.  Transparency around the County's process and awareness of the problems we currently face need to be acknowledged and demand a thoughtful response and solution in a prompt timeframe.

Other articles referenced:
HVL Life&Times Article, June 2017
2018 CIP
PGCPS Feasibility Studies
PGCPS Educational Facilities Master Plan 

 



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