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Opening date of new Hyattsville Elementary delayed two years

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Posted on: June 23, 2023

BY CLAIRE PANAK TOMBES

Hyattsville Elementary School will close in summer 2026 for demolition and rebuilding, and will reopen for the 2028-29 school year, two years after what was originally expected. The new school building’s enrollment capacity is expected to be 650, with a projected enrollment of 458 students in fall 2027.

Jason Washington, director of the Prince George’s County Public Schools Office of Alternative Infrastructure Planning and Development, said at the June 15 Educational Facilities Task Force (EFTF) meeting that the delay was due to the inclusion of two additional elementary schools in Phase 2 of the Alternative Construction Financing (ACF) Program, temporary school location (“swing space”) constraints, and the need to have Hyattsville Elementary’s design approved by the Maryland Historical Trust.

While the request for proposals gives a site availability date of August 2024, Washington confirmed in an email that “the two-year swing is definitive at this point,” and that the school system plans to keep all students at a single swing space location from July 2026 to July 2028.
The final swing space has not been identified, but Washington said at the June EFTF meeting that space at Robert Goddard Montessori School in Seabrook and the former Matthew Henson Elementary School building in Landover were both possibilities. The school system has previously rented the former parochial school at St. Mark’s Catholic Church on Adelphi Road as swing space, and Washington said that it was a possibility but would be “very expensive.” He also said the school system prefers to use swing space it owns.

In 2021 and 2022 meetings, members of the EFTF had discussed expanding the existing 2-acre site — which is significantly smaller than the other school sites in Phase 2 — by acquiring additional land from the city, neighboring St. Jerome’s Catholic Church, or private landowners, according to meeting recordings obtained by the Hyattsville Life & Times; ultimately, however, no additional land will be added to the 43rd Avenue site. The school system will be purchasing land from the City of New Carrollton to expand the sites of two Phase 2 schools.

According to information shared at the June EFTF meeting, the new school will include pre-K classrooms and underground parking. As part of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, school systems statewide will be expanding access to prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds. Washington also said designers anticipated building a rooftop playground, and said in an email that the new school would have a minimum of 100 parking spaces.

Hyattsville Elementary’s enrollment peaked at 566 during the 2015-16 school year and, while it has declined each year since, enrollment has remained above the state rate capacity of 406, with 423 students enrolled during the 2022-23 school year. The current building dates to 1935 and is considered past its useful life.

Hyattsville Elementary is the second school in the city to be rebuilt through the ACF program. Hyattsville Middle School, which is being rebuilt as part of Phase 1, closed for demolition and construction in summer 2021, and Washington confirmed at the June EFTF meeting that the new school building is on time and will be ready for the first day of school this August.

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