According to the Frederick County Public Schools’ 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan, the county’s fourth high school will open in the fall of 2020 with construction scheduled to begin in August 2017. The school will be constructed on part of an 83 acre site immediately east of Evendale Elementary School and Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School. To date, funds have only been appropriated for the design of the school. Additional action will be necessary by both the School Board and Board of Supervisors before construction can begin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Project Update (April 13, 2017)
At its meeting on April 12, 2017, The Frederick County Board of Supervisors shared that it is unwilling to fund the construction of a fourth high school as presented and requested at this time. The Board did approve a motion stating its willingness to consider a future appropriation of up to $9.2 million to create 400 additional, permanent classroom seats at the high school level. On December 6, 2016, the School Board asked the Board of Supervisors to appropriate $85.4 million to allow for the construction of a fourth high school to proceed.
Project Update - Cost Reduction Efforts (March 2017)
In response to concerns voiced by individual members of the Frederick County Board of Supervisors about the estimated total project cost of the fourth high school, the School Board took action on January 17, 2017, to authorize a study to reduce the estimated total project cost from $91.4 million to $83 million. The results of that study, which reduced the estimated total project cost to $80.6 million, were presented at the Board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee and the full Board on March 21, 2017. The reductions include:
- Redesigning the building to eliminate two learning communities and reducing the width and length of the main gym. Reducing the size of the main gym will also reduce the seating capacity in that area. These changes will reduce the building floor area by 40,092 square feet and are estimated to reduce construction costs by $9 million. Dr. Orndorff noted that some of these savings will be offset by redesign costs.
- Adjustments to the DMS cost estimate based on site and current local market conditions. This change is estimated to save $2,406,000 in construction costs.
- Eliminate traffic circles and reduce Justes Drive extension to two lanes. These changes are estimated to save $900,000.
- Selecting less expensive light fixtures schoolwide. This change is estimated to save $312,723.
- Replacing suspended acoustical panels in collaborative areas with drop ceiling. This change is estimated to save $100,000.
- Replacing the folding partition between the main gym and auxiliary gym with a concrete masonry unit wall. This change is estimated to save $157,000 in construction costs.
- Reducing the number of tubular day lights in the commons, locker rooms, gym lobby, administration, weight room, cafeteria, and kitchen by 40. Eliminating skylights in the auxiliary gym and reducing the number of skylights in the main gym by five. These changes are estimated to save $127,125 in construction costs.
- Eliminating all concessions equipment in the gym lobby area and providing provisions to sell only pre-packaged items. This change is estimated to save $90,000 in construction costs.
- Simplifying study nodes in collaboration areas and changing ceiling to gypsum wall board. These changes are estimated to save $81,954 in construction costs.
- Eliminating the digital display for the art wall. This change is estimated to save $55,000 in construction costs.
- Reducing the HVAC piping to meet minimum requirements-victualic flange, pro-press fittings, etc. This change is estimated to save $100,000 in construction costs.
- Eliminating the outside terrace and associated features on the second floor. This change is estimated to save $41,000 in construction costs.
- Replacing the horizontal sliding doors at stair towers with double doors. This change is estimated to save $30,150 in construction costs.
- Replacing closed cell spray foam insulation with open cell. This change is estimated to save $25,460 in construction costs.
- Eliminating all lockers and countertops over the lockers in the cafeteria. This change is estimated to save $25,000 in construction costs.
Redesign fees for the fourth high school are estimated at $300,000. Items for which estimated redesign fees exceeded expected savings were eliminated from consideration during the cost reduction effort. It should be noted that the estimated cost of the project will be impacted by construction inflation and interest rates which are expected to increase.
Project Update (December 2016)
Design and Project Goals
Frederick County’s fourth high school is being designed by OWPR Architects and Engineers. In December 2014, OWPR presented the Frederick County School Board with the conceptual design for the school. The design was developed after OWPR spent more than a year gathering stakeholder input, considering ways to improve building design based on lessons learned from past projects, and working with staff to better understand instructional best practices. The design was developed to achieve a variety of project goals that include:
- Foster collaborative learning and positive social interaction among students and faculty
- Foster cross-curricular collaboration
- Encourage critical thinking through problem and project based learning
- Transparency within the building so that student interests are spurred by seeing the work of their peers
- Spaces that are not curriculum-specific, enable flexibility of instruction or easily accommodate new curriculum and pedagogies
- An environment that fosters the school division’s one-to-one technology initiative and encourages the use of technology
- Passive safety and security measures
- Environmentally conscious design
- The building as a classroom (Learning from the building systems)
- Outdoor learning areas.
- Encourage physical activity for all students and faculty
The fourth high school represents a departure from the educational philosophy represented in the design of Millbrook and Sherando High Schools which opened in 2003 and 1993, respectively. The school has been designed as a two-story building that is divided into six distinct learning communities.