What is the current swing space plan?
DCPS announced January 2, 2016 that for the 2016-2017 school year, Murch would be located at a trailer complex to be constructed on two fields at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). For the 2017-2018 school year, Murch would locate on the current school site while construction is ongoing.
Is this the final plan?
There is a good chance that Murch could move to UDC for two full years. All the details of the UDC space are still being negotiated and must be approved by the UDC Board of Trustees. The SIT members believe that moving to UDC for two years would be the best choice for the school. UDC leadership has committed to work with DCPS, DGS and Murch to come up with the best possible plans for Murch’s temporary home. Members of the SIT (and HSA?) are working directly with UDC to see if we can come up with a solution.
Why wouldn’t Murch remain at UDC for two years?
DCPS, DGS and the SIT all agreed that moving to UDC was the best option for the school. DCPS, needed to make a decision by January 21. UDC, however, has been in discussions to have their fields reconstructed for use by UDC, Stoddert Soccer, and two local private schools. That plan would have interfered with plans for Murch to locate on the site for a full two years. UDC, the soccer groups, and DCPS are now trying to determine whether it is possible for Murch to locate at UDC for two years and what the space would look like.
What is the cost of this plan?
DCPS has not provided an estimate of the cost of this plan. DCPS told the Northwest Current newspaper that they may be requesting some additional funding for the project due to the increased costs of swing space. We know that the estimated cost of relocating to UDC was $6.5 million, and the estimated cost of swinging onsite was $2.5 million. This plan would require many of the costs of both plans. The only savings from the identified by DCPS and DGS would be for one year’s lease of trailers at UDC and the addition a few less trailers onsite. Additional costs also may arise in negotiations with UDC.
Does this plan affect the construction timeline?
According to DCPS and DGS, the plan to split time between UDC and onsite could extend the construction timeline beyond two years. This is because work on the playground and courtyard could not begin until the Kaufman Wing and all trailers are removed after June 2018.
What would Murch at UDC look like?
Murch classrooms, offices and other space would be in pods of trailers constructed on the field at the back of UDC’s campus. The trailers would be similar to what is currently at Lafayette Elementary and would be designed accommodate all the spaces that the school needs. The entire area would be ADA accessible. Classrooms will have bathrooms, will be wired, have projectors, and other amenities that are not available in current Murch classrooms!
What play space would be available to Murch students at UDC?
There is a sizable open space next to where the trailers would be but what that space would look like is still being negotiated. UDC would like to put in a turf soccer field in that space, and Murch students would have access to that field. DCPS has indicated that they could construct a playground in that space, which would require UDC to delay all plans for its soccer fields. In addition, there is also a smaller, existing playground to which Murch would have access.
How would students get to and from the UDC location?
DCPS would provide buses to get students to and from school. Families could also walk, metro, or drive students to and from school. UDC and DCPS will work to create drop off zones for students at the site. DCPS will work with Murch to determine where bus stops would be located. One suggestion is that there be several bus stop locations around the Murch neighborhood. DCPS is also working to ensure that students who participate in after school activities would also have access to afternoon busing.
How would aftercare work?
DCPS has assured the SIT that they will find a workable solution for X Day and Capital Language Services so that students can access the programs, continue to participate in afterschool clubs and activities along with X Day or Capital Language Services, and so that they have access to outdoor space. While we do not know exactly what that will look like at this point, the SIT and the school continue to work on this to ensure that it is possible.