HMS project planning committee offers timeline for rebuild

The current Hyattsville Middle School building, which will continue to house students while a new school is being built. Courtesy of Sophie Gorman Oriani.

By SOPHIE GORMAN ORIANI — On Nov. 20, the kickoff meeting of the Project Planning Committee offered a timeline for building a new Hyattsville Middle School (HMS) and provided more information on the design process.

“The plan here is not to try to save this building,” said Deanna Newman, who writes educational specifications on behalf of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). “The plan is to rebuild the building on your site … and then … you would move out of this building and into that building. You will not have to go into a swing space plan.” 

“It’s straight into major design work for the next year, and probably two years of construction,” said Newman. 

HMS is slated to be rebuilt on its current location using Alternative Construction Financing (ACF), an approach that partners the school system with a development team. “Prince George’s County is actually the first [county] in the state that’s pursuing [this method],” Newman said. 

Newman explained that through ACF, the development team will build the new schools and maintain them for 30 years. “At the end of that period of time, they’ll refresh the buildings, and then they give them to the school district completely.”

The ACF funding package includes five middle schools and one K-8 school, and will cost about 30 million dollars per year for the duration of the 30-year relationship. The developer, Newman said, will perform major maintenance, while PGCPS will continue to oversee janitorial staff, as well as teachers and other educational staff.

“We have narrowed down our field of possible development teams … to four,” said Newman. She explained that those four teams would receive a request for proposal by mid- to late-November, and would have to provide a general sense of what their designs would look like by April 2020, along with a plan to maintain and finance the buildings. One development team will be selected for all six buildings, and “at that point, we will really be able to come back to you with some information,” assured Newman.

The Project Planning Committee is comprised of community members, including HMS staff and representatives from the feeder elementary schools. “After we’ve gotten at least a concept design, then we plan to have a broader community meeting,” Newman said.

The new HMS is scheduled to open for the 2023-2024 school year.

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