Brookland & Turkey Thicket Community Meeting FAQ Sheet (03 23-2013)


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We enjoyed our meeting today with the Ward 5 residents. If you happened to have missed the meeting or simply wish to share the FAQ Sheet with your neighbors, friends and family feel free to share! Thanks.

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Brookland & Turkey Thicket Community Meeting FAQ Sheet (03 23-2013)

  1. 1. TURKEY THICKET /BROOKLAND MIDDLE SCHOOL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSThe DC Department of General Services (DGS), Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), and DC PublicSchools (DCPS) have held two (2) community meetings to discuss design concepts and communityrequests for the construction of a new Brookland Middle School and upgrades to Turkey Thicket Park.The concepts resulted from collaborative meetings between the relevant DC agencies, a SchoolImprovement Team, and community input.Below are answers to many of the community’s questions related to the projects:DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION1. Will the new school definitely be built adjacent to the Rec Center? If not, when will a decision be made on where the school gets built? The ultimate goal is to build the school in a manner that best utilizes both facilities on District- owned land. At this time, the design concepts are being developed by the architects, which will be shared with the community.2. What led to the decision to explore a co-located design concept? The initial concept designs for the middle school displayed several challenges with building a new modern-day middle school at the site. Examples include: proximity to nearby one-story houses, achieving safe student drop-off, limited available space for school parking, direct abutment with tennis courts which limit access to the park, and a somewhat awkward relationship with the recreation center. After reviewing several ways the land could be used for both recreation and a school, an approach that placed both buildings along 10th St NE appeared to be the best option. This approach maintains the existing outdoor recreation spaces and their relationships, while also providing opportunities for the school and recreation center to potentially share spaces such as gymnasium, an auditorium, and dining space. The other options explored can be seen at: Why was Brookland chosen as the site for a new middle school instead of another property? After several years working with the Ward 5 Council on Education and establishing a need for an arts-focused middle school in Ward 5, DCPS initially vetted three DCPS locations: Hamilton, Brookland and Backus. Backus was eliminated when UDC confirmed their intent to continue using it. Brookland was preferred over Hamilton because of its northern location within the ward, as there are ample middle school seats in the southern portion at McKinley MS, Wheatley EC and Brown EC. Taft was never considered, as it has been leased to a charter school. Community input also indicated a desire for Brookland due to the central location, Metro accessibility and potential Turkey Thicket proximity.4. We value green space. How much will be lost with the new school? Depending on the site selected, loss of green space ranges between zero and one acre. 1
  2. 2. 5. Placing a school entrance on 10th Street NE could be problematic due to Metro bus routes. Has a traffic study been performed in this process? A traffic study of all streets surrounding the park/school site is currently being performed by the design team and will be incorporated into the decision on where to place the school and how to best incorporate parking and drop-off/pickup into the site layout.6. Is underground parking being considered for the projects? Yes. As the site continues being studied for space available to meet all needs of the school and rec center, underground parking is being considered if there is not enough space for surface parking to support both facilities.7. Who is the architect selected for the school project? The architect team of Hartman-Cox/Grimm+Parker was selected utilizing DGS’s standard procurement evaluation criteria for architects on major modernization projects. Factors include experience on similar projects, project personnel, project-specific design approach, experience with fast-track project delivery, and compliance with DC local hiring and local business inclusion policies.8. Has a building program been developed for the school to be incorporated into the design? Yes. A set of Education Specifications has been developed by DCPS. A copy can be seen here: Initiative9. A RFP went out for design build contractor. Who won the bid and for how much? Bids have been received and will be evaluated to determine the winning bid.TURKEY THICKET PLAYGROUND PROJECT10. What is happening with the Turkey Thicket modernization design that was to be implemented this summer? Should the agencies decide to keep the school near its current location, the Turkey Thicket modernization will move forward.11. Will the budget for the playground project be affected? The budget for playground will not be affected.12. What is the budget for the playground? The playground budget for Turkey Thicket will be determined based on the final concept and the selection of the contractor.BUDGET13. How much of the $50M budget for Brookland MS is for construction costs? At this time the design team has been tasked with designing a building that can be constructed for approximately $38M. The remaining costs are used to cover project “soft costs” such as furnishings, equipment, design and professional fees, permits, utility fees and project contingency for currently unknown site conditions. 2
  3. 3. 14. Is $50M enough to build the school without being co-located? Yes, based on early estimates.OPERATIONAL15. Co-location or not, how do DCPS and DPR foresee their individual users interacting during the school day? How will proper security be maintained? We are in the early stages of these discussions. Additionally, any school location within the site needs to address how students would have safe, direct access from the school to the park fields for occasional daytime use. DCPS and DPR will work out a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be created. Once the details are finalized we will share with the community.16. What impact will this have on toddlers and their parents who use the outdoor park during the day? As stated above, the agencies are working with the designers to ensure whichever design chosen ensures students occasionally walking from the school to the playing fields can do so in a manner that maintains secure use of the playground. More details on these design approaches will be shared once a school location has been finalized and the site plans develop.17. What impact will this have on charter schools that use the recreation center during the day? The recreation center and park are DC-owned public properties available to all District residents and charter schools who file proper permits and/or MOU to use such facilities. The arrival of the middle school onsite will not change that, but will likely require more coordination and schedule planning to ensure all who want to use the park have the opportunity to do so.18. What happens to the walking groups that utilize Turkey Thicket field during the day? Will it be restricted because kids are on the site? The goal is not to affect use of the walking exercise trail during the day. This will be further explored in the development of the MOU between DPR and DCPS regarding usage.19. Why do we need eight (8) tennis courts? Can we have four (4) courts and use additional space for green space? Maintaining the eight (8) tennis courts is a requirement of DPR.COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT20. What is the actual role of the School Improvement Team (SIT) and are they required to do any community outreach? School Improvement Teams (SITs) are established for each school renovation/modernization project. The SITs’ main focus is to provide input and feedback on the Educational Specifications (Ed Specs) and the project’s schematic design. The SIT is not required to do any community outreach.21. What community input has gone into the designs thus far? Where can the community see presentations made to the School Improvement Team (SIT)? For the Turkey Thicket modernizations, DPR held two community meetings in Winter 2012 to gather initial input on desired upgrades and then shared a concept design by Studio 39 Architects before it 3
  4. 4. went into implementation. In addition, online surveys were used to gather initial input and then feedback on the design concept developed. Community involvement on the Ward 5 Great Schools Initiative, tasked with improving Ward 5 middle grades DCPS education options, formally began in the summer of 2011. This initiative was a response to community concerns, especially as shared by the Ward 5 Council on Education. As part of the Ward 5 Great Schools Initiative, DCPS announced plans to locate a new middle school at the Brookland site in March 2012. After DCPS decided to move forward with Brookland MS, an initial SIT of 15-20 community members and DCPS personnel was formed in September 2012 and met twice to provide feedback on the program/Educational Specifications before an architect was engaged to begin design in December 2012. Initial site layout concepts were presented in January 2012. The co- location design approach was shared with the SIT for the first time at the community-wide meeting on February 26, 2013. Copies of previous Brookland SIT presentations and more information on the Ward 5 Great Schools Initiative can be found on the DCPS website at: Initiative22. How will the community be further engaged in this design and decision process? The next community meeting will occur in 2-3 weeks to share which site design has been selected for implementation. Conversations will then focus on developing that site plan to best accommodate both the school and the park. Use of the recreation amenities will also be an area requiring community feedback.23. Are there any environmental concerns with demolishing the existing school building? As with many DCPS modernizations, all hazardous materials (i.e. asbestos, lead paint) will be identified, documented, and then abated per federal regulations under the supervision of an industrial hygienist so that no hazardous materials get released during demolition work.24. Does this project require review from DC State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)? Because the building (built in 1975) is less than 50 years old, and it is not in a DC Historic District, DC SHPO does not anticipate having any concerns with respect to the built environment on this project and thus will not require a Determination of Eligibility or Historical Resources Survey. However, SHPO is still required to review the project during the permitting process for things like archaeology. 4