Hyattsville Middle School: New principal here, new building coming
By Kylie Rau and Sophie Gorman Oriani
Hyattsville Middle School (HMS) has welcomed Mrs. Chanita Stamper as the acting principal and continues to develop plans to rebuild a brand new school facility.
Stamper holds her National Board Certification and has over 22 years of experience. In a Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) newsletter released July 14, Stamper noted that she has worked as a classroom teacher, instruction and professional development lead teacher, and assistant principal. Most recently, Stamper served as the assistant principal of Greenbelt Middle School. She has worked with PGCPS for almost 18 years.
“The importance of building positive relationships with my students, my parents, my teachers and the broader community has been paramount,” Stamper explained. She also noted that she has worked with diverse populations of students and staff in grades pre-K through eight.
“I am elated to bring my skills as an educational leader to Hyattsville Middle School and to work collaboratively with you to ensure your child’s success,” Stamper said. She emphasized the importance of treating the Hyattsville Middle School community as family.
Other changes are in store for HMS, too, as PGCPS makes progress towards reaching an agreement with a developer to build six new schools, including a new school building for HMS, which would be built with public-private partnership (P3) funding.
Jason Washington, director of the PGCPS Public-Private Partnerships Program, gave a presentation to the Prince George’s County Board of Education (BOE) during their retreat on Aug. 21. Washington said that the final request for proposals was released on Aug. 19, with proposals due Sept. 14. The board plans to select a developer in October, with an exclusive negotiating period of up to 60 days following the selection. Washington said that the negotiating period will allow PGCPS to have “one-on-one open book negotiations with the preferred developer,” but that the proposal locks in the majority of the project, including the maximum monthly cost.
Washington added that the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the P3 process. While the project was initially scheduled to be completed in time for the 2023-2024 school year, some schools may not be ready to open until the next academic year.; Developers will be required to submit a timeline as part of their proposal package.
After a school is complete, PGCPS will make monthly payments to the developer for building maintenance; the school system will pay out approximately $34 million dollars per year for 30 years.When the building transfers out of the 30-year period, the developer will refurbish the buildings, guaranteeing there are at least 5-15 years left on systems and parts. The new school buildings must last for 60 years.
BOE member Raaheela Ahmed (District 5) has been critical of the project and concerned about the potential for rising costs. In response, Washington focused on the security deposit stipulated in the contract, saying that the agreed-upon costs won’t go up during the negotiating period. “If you [the developer] play with the price, we will take your money,” he said. Shawn Matlock, director of capital programs for PGCPS, added that the county is putting an extra $450 million towards the P3 project, which they otherwise wouldn’t have contributed to building new schools.
BOE member Sonya Williams (District 9) emphasized that the potentially higher costs will be offset by the speed by which the buildings will be built. “This gets us six new schools in a few years, which is absolutely incredible,” she said. “We don’t have an alternative other than waiting ten years for one school to be built at a time.”
“This is for our children and our teachers … to be in appropriate, healthy facilities,” agreed BOE member Pamela Boozer (District 3). “We are expending so much money on maintenance every year for a building that is beyond its useful life. This investment is for the most important investment in the county — our children.”
Kylie Rau is a summer intern with the Hyattsville Life & Times.