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Beach could be Calvert’s first three-story elementary


What a new Beach Elementary School could look like from the air

Chesapeake Beach, MD - Calvert County Public Schools’ (CCPS) next major construction project could be of historical significance. On Thursday, Feb. 7 Rockville-based architect Ran Ilkovitch presented the results of a feasibility study for the renovation/replacement of Beach Elementary School (BES) to the Calvert County Board of Education (BOE). The school, which is 65-years-old,  is located on a narrow parcel off Bayside Road (Route 261) and is regarded as an integral component of the Town of Chesapeake Beach. Although the renovation project at the current site would appear to be a challenge, the committee conducting the feasibility study decided building up was the way to go.

“There’s very limited area for construction on this site,” said Ilkovitch.

According to CCPS’ Director of School Construction Shuchita Warner, the committee of stakeholders studying the BES project conducted information gathering, evaluated the existing building, determined a concept and provided an estimate of how much funding would be needed. Warner told the BOE the group—which included Principal Michael Shisler, a teacher and parents—met four times and consulted with town officials and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) architect.

Ilkovitch explained that the group pondered the question, “this is a three-story elementary school, how do we feel about this?” The realization that students on the third floor would have views of both the Chesapeake Bay and Fishing Creek were regarded as pluses. The structure would provide 69,000 gross square feet and at an estimated $28.8 million, would cost less than a project that would “modernize” the existing building.

“Moving up was something everybody was excited about,” said Ilkovitch. The new BES would be CCPS' first three-story elementary school.

Warner said a goal of the project would be to make the building a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard building, which would result in long-term savings.

“This was an incredible study,” said BOE President Dawn Balinski. “It turned out better than what I thought it would be.” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Curry recommended that the BOE adopt the committee’s recommendation. The four members present did so unanimously. Warner said the study and the BOE’s recommendation would now be forwarded to the MSDE for its consideration.

“I am in favor,” said Chesapeake Beach Mayor Pat “Irish” Mahoney of the BES replacement plan. “The new school will slightly increase capacity allowing for all our town’s children to attend the same elementary school. It’s important to Chesapeake Beach residents that we keep Beach Elementary School within the town limits and this is the design that will accomplish that.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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