DCPS and DGS met with the Murch SIT the evening of Thursday, January 7, to present updates to three of the four proposed swing sites for the Murch renovation. They have delayed the deadline for making a decision until January 21. At this point, both agencies appear to be leaning towards the UDC site, but none of the options has been eliminated and there are still too many logistics to be worked out for a decision to be made by the original deadline of January 12. Details of the options presented to the community on December 17 can be viewed on the DGS website.
Below is the text of a letter from DCPS regarding the status of the decision making process:
Thank you for your thoughtful feedback on the swing space options. DCPS and DGS have been working hard to further the scenarios and address as many of the concerns as possible. At the community meeting in December we shared that we were aiming to make a decision on the swing space location by January 12th. At this time there are still a few unanswered questions that we need addressed before we feel comfortable making a decision. Because of that, we have decided to push the decision date back to January 21st. We know the uncertainly surrounding the swing location is frustrating. We are eager to make the decision too, but we owe it to the students, staff, families,and community to make the most informed decision possible.
Since the community meeting we have been working closely with UDC to further evaluate the trailer layout on their field. This decision impacts a number of departments within UDC and they are going through their internal review process. We believe this option has a lot of positive aspects and we will be re-engaging with them early next week to continue working through the details.
As we continue the discussions with UDC, we have also been working hard to address as many of the concerns on the other scenarios as well. There are ongoing traffic evaluations for the on-site, Lafayette, and Murch scenarios. We will be getting preliminary results from those evaluations in the coming days. Safety around drop off and pick up is extremely important to us and these studies will help us better understand the feasibility and potential issues for each of the scenarios.
For the on-site option, we have also been evaluating the placement of the trailers on the site. To limit classroom disruption, our goal is to have the classroom trailers placed as far away from the construction area as possible, and in our latest attempt, we think we have improved that. In the latest on-site drawing the closest classroom would be roughly 90 feet away from the construction zone. We have also furthered discussions with NPS about potentially using some of the property across Reno Road as play space (structured or open play). We have had very productive discussions with them and anticipate getting a response from them in the coming days.
We are also continuing to evaluate the Lafayette option. Because the enrollment at Lafayette is slightly larger than Murch, we have been evaluating to see if some of the trailers from the site can be removed to open up additional play space. We believe that 4 trailers could be removed, which could open up some additional play space to supplement the Lafayette Park play areas. In addition to the traffic study mentioned earlier, there is also an ongoing egress/evacuation analysis, which will help inform if having both student populations on the site would create a safety concern.
While we have not taken any of the scenarios off the table, the option to split the students between the Capital Memorial Church and Murch has not been explored in as much detail as the other options. This option creates logistical and operational challenges for families and staff and was not well received by the community.
We understand the importance of the before and aftercare programs at or near Murch. We have been working with Principal C and the X-Day program to evaluate options for aftercare if an offsite option is selected. We are working together to try and develop solutions to reduce the burden on families. We will continue working with them and the Capitol Language Services program.
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Director, Facility Planning and Design
Office of the Chief Operating Officer