New Hyattsville elementary school delayed to 2014 -- Gazette.Net



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A new Hyattsville elementary school will not open until 2014, delaying boundary changes related to the school, Prince George’s County education officials said.

Johndell Jones-Brown, director for the county’s Office of Pupil Accounting and Student Boundaries, said the completion date for the new school has been pushed back to November 2013, and it is scheduled to open August 2014. The delay is due to the school system still trying to acquire land adjacent to the school site from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in order for construction crews to fully access the site, said school system spokesman Briant Coleman.

Proposals for the new school boundaries will be developed with public input in the fall, Jones-Brown said.

The information came during a Dec. 4 public meeting on proposed countywide school boundary changes at Hyattsville’s Nicholas Orem Middle School. More than 30 people attended with several Hyattsville area residents prepared to speak on the changes.

The new Hyattsville school would likely draw students from several schools, where enrollment currently exceeds their state rated capacity, including University Park, Hyattsville and Lewisdale elementary schools. The new 92,000-square-foot school for pre-kindergarten through the sixth grade will be located on Editors Park Drive and have a 792-student capacity.

Tim Hunt of University Hills in Hyattsville urged the school system not to redistrict his neighborhood out of University Park elementary’s boundaries, where his son is in the second grade.

“University Hills has had an over 60-year relationship with University Park Elementary,” Hunt said. “Generations of our parents have helped build that school and it is very important to our community to stay with that school.”

Jones-Brown also said the school system would consider whether to implement a Talented and Gifted, or TAG, program at the new school.

Hyattsville parent Elizabeth Pfaffenroth, the mother of a first-grader and “one on the way,” said she would like to see the new school become a TAG center.

TAG centers have programs in place to provide full-day accelerated educational opportunities for TAG students who have been selected by lottery.

The nearest TAG center is at Glenarden Woods Elementary, which is nearly an hour bus trip each way, Pfaffenroth said.

Jones-Brown also presented various proposals for dealing with overpopulation at Oxon Hill High School by transferring students to nearby Potomac High in Oxon Hill, and possibly Crossland in Temple Hills and Friendly in Fort Washington.

One proposal would move the sixth grade from several overpopulated elementary schools to under capacity middle schools Benjamin Tasker in Bowie, Ernest Everett Just in Mitchellville, Greenbelt, Hyattsville and Walker Mill in Capitol Heights.

Jones-Brown said the school system is also considering a proposal to merge its three Deaf and Hard of Hearing programs into a single kindergarten through eighth-grade program, to be located at either William Hall Academy in Capitol Heights or Andrew Jackson Academy in Forestville, which Jones-Brown said would provide those students with more access to hearing-impaired peers and reduce duplication of staff services.

Additional forums were held at Walker Mill Middle School on Dec. 6 and Oxon Hill Middle School on Dec. 12. Jones-Brown said the input received from the public would be taken into account in the plans, which will be presented to the Board of Education and presented at public hearings in January.

janfenson-comeau@gazette.net