Montgomery schools Superintendent Joshua Starr’s new building plan, which emphasizes easing crowded schools particularly in Bethesda-Chevy Chase, is getting an unhappy reception in neighborhoods that must wait longer for updates.
Two students from Poolesville High School, juniors Pierson Higareda and Jonathan Fink, posted a video on YouTube to attract attention to their outdated facility.
“Our building is falling apart,” the student narrator declares early in the eight-minute video, as he picks out pieces of crumbling mortar surrounding the exterior bricks.
Poolesville High was built in 1953 and modernized in 1978, according to the school system’s building plan. Another complete renovation is not scheduled to be completed until 2013.
Inside the building, the camera pans holes in the wall, out-of-service bathrooms, broken showers in the locker room, and classrooms that can only be accessed through other classrooms. It also follows a student in a wheelchair who encounters staircases he can’t climb and doors he cannot open.
The school was originally built to serve a small farming community; now it’s home to a county-wide magnet program and nearly 1,200 students. While there are enough classrooms to go around, the video highlights a cramped gym, cafeteria and auditorium.
“The school is something the whole community is proud of,” said Jerome Klobukowski, a Poolesville town commissioner and educational liaison, who said he instigated the film. “We just want to have a facility that matches the talent that we have.”
Earlier this week, scores of parents and students also turned out at a listen-and-learn event at Wheaton High to protest the delay of a planned renovation there and at neighboring Thomas Edison High School of Technology.
“For the past 20 years, Wheaton has gotten the short end of the stick,” one parent told the superintendent.