- English Manor was built in the early 60’s while the Blair G. Ewing school (formerly the Mark Twain School) was built in 1971 (when it was built, it was solidly-constructed, and was state-of-the-art, and it remains structurally sound). The English Manor School is close to a decade OLDER than the Blair G. Ewing Center.
- Ewing has had many renovations since 1997. This includes a new roof, new flooring, and many other updates (Search "Ewing" at this site - http://www.pscp.state.md.us/fi/MainFrame.cfm. You can also view a PDF of the results here.)
- According to the Montgomery County Department of General Services “School Reuse Decision Process” assessment published in October 2013, for English Manor “there have been miscellaneous improvements over the years, but there has not been any major renovation work since the school was originally constructed.”
- English Manor HVAC and roof “have out lived its lifespan and need to be replaced. The electrical systems also need to be replaced.
- It would clearly not be in the AEP students' best interests to relocate them to a much older school. Funds for renovating and updating the current Blair G. Ewing Center have already been set aside, so why change course now?
- Quoted from a February 7, 2014 memo from County Council analysts to the County Council Education committee (pg 13), "Also, during the November 18, 2013, meeting, the Board of Education included funding for facility improvements to the Blair G. Ewing Center. This facility houses alternative programs and serves students throughout Montgomery County. A feasibility study was conducted in FY 2013 and the Board of Education anticipates that the proposed improvements will support the program offerings and enhance the success for those students who attend the alternative programs."
- Quoted from that feasibility study (Option 3, pg 42) - "All academies classrooms in Option 03 are clustered around group study space and informal learning space outside the classroom. The corridors are able to widen create locker commons. These moves remove the institutional feel of the current building and provide students with 21st Century Learning Environments on par with their home school."
- Page 47 suggests additional outdoor spaces such as a rain garden, outdoor dining, agricultural education area, weather & music garden, and a butterfly and bird habitat. Those sound like great amenities for the school and students. The much smaller acreage of English Manor School would never be able to fit those same opportunities.
- As late as a September 9, 2014 MCPS School Board meeting, the staff was singing the praises of the Ewing Center and that they could turn it into a national model for Alternative Education programs -
"Additionally, staff briefly reviewed the three year plan for alternative education and reported that satellite programs have been successfully consolidated and integrated into Blair Ewing Center (Ewing Center). They believe that, in the future, the name of the alternative education can be altered so that the perception will change and, as a result, more students will opt in. Staff voiced their goal for Ewing Center to become a national model where the achievement gap is diminished and where students come to find a unique educational experience. In response, Ms. Suh expressed an interest in seeing the campus and meeting students, and she requested a tour of the Ewing Center."
- While the board suggests that rehabbing English Manor could be supported by the original $16.6 million, Starr stated in his letter to the County Executive (pg 16) "WHERES, If the feasibility study determines that the $16.6 million is not sufficient, the cost of the project will be increased in the Fiscal Years 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Program."
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