Trolley Museum Renovation

A renovation of the National Capital Trolley Museum in Silver Spring has been proposed to make the museum more accessible to visitors and to better display the 17 historic trolleys.

The museum, at 1313 Bonifant Rd., opened in 1969 to preserve the role of trolleys in the development of Washington. It includes a visitors center, two "car barns" and a repair facility. In addition, visitors can ride a trolley on a 1.7-mile electric railway.

The museum, built on a 100-year flood plain, is considered risky for the trolleys and too small for adequate viewing.

The proposed $1.75 million renovation would reconfigure the museum, making it easier to view the collection, provide access for the disabled, make the display areas safer for visitors and streetcars and display the cars in a more accurate historical context.

Museum trustee Wesley Paulson said the setting would be an "urban plaza," paved with brick or stone, with building facades of stone and reddish brick and arches and other details reminiscent of Washington car barns of the 1920s.

The renovation will be discussed at a Nov. 18 meeting of the Montgomery County Park and Planning Board in its auditorium, at 8787 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring. The meeting schedule will be determined after Nov. 12. Those wishing to attend should call the park and planning community relations line at 301-495-4600 after Nov. 12 for the time of the discussion.

The Trolley Museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. weekends year-round and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays during the school year. For more information, call 301-384-6088 or visit the museum's Web site at www.dctrolley.org.

Forum on Education Issues

Residents will have an opportunity to discuss education issues at 7 p.m. Monday at a public forum sponsored by the Maryland State Board of Eduction at Paint Branch High School.

School board members from Montgomery, Frederick, Howard and Prince George's counties will participate. Residents can discuss such topics as the coming high school assessment, safety and security, achievement of all ethnic and racial groups, teacher shortages and the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP).

Those wishing to comment can register from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at the meeting. Speakers will be called in order of registration.

Questions about the forum or its format should be directed to Anthony South, of the State Board of Education office, at 410-767-0467. Questions also can be faxed to him at 410-333-2226 or e-mailed to tsouth@msde.state.md.us.

Paint Branch High School is at 14121 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville.

Resource Center Dedication

A dedication ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. today for the new Parent Resource Center at Gaithersburg Elementary School. School Superintendent Jerry D. Weast will be among the speakers at the event, which is hosted by the City of Gaithersburg.

The Parent Resource Center offers support and educational services to Gaithersburg area families. The school is at 35 N. Summit Ave.

Arts Center Named BlackRock

The cultural arts center to be built in Germantown now has a name: BlackRock Center for the Arts.

The center takes its name from a nearby Germantown landmark, the large black outcropping of rock in Seneca Creek State Park. The black rock is actually red Seneca sandstone, which darkened over time. The Smithsonian's Castle building was constructed with Seneca sandstone from upper Montgomery County.

Ground will be broken for the first phase of construction of BlackRock Center for the Arts in the spring. The $7.3 million, 32,000-square-foot facility is projected to open in 2001. It will feature theaters for the performing arts, an exhibition gallery, a children's art and activity studio, outdoor performance space and education studios for art, dance, music and literature.