Gaithersburg has a new, $21 million middle school.

Lakelands Park Middle School, at 1200 Main St., will offer sixth- and seventh-grade instruction this school year and will add eighth-grade classes next school year.

The school, built to alleviate crowding at Kingsview and Ridgeview middle schools, will have 600 students and a staff of 80, including 55 teachers.

It will house two special-education programs, for children with learning and physical disabilities and for those with autism. The autism program is the only one at a county middle school, said principal Joseph Sacco.

The school will feed students into Northwest High in Germantown and Quince Orchard High in Gaithersburg.

Lakelands Park has a special relationship with the City of Gaithersburg. The city, which owns the recreational fields that the school will use, will give the school access to them during the day in exchange for the school's being made available for city use.

Sixty percent of Lakelands Park students are white, 14 percent Asian, 13 percent black and 13 percent Latino, Sacco said.

-- ARUNA JAIN

Social studies teacher Stephanie Stow last week moves supplies into Lakelands Park Middle, a new school opening with 600 students and 55 teachers. Science teacher Mark Craemer, left, and principal Joseph Sacco unpack.