Editor’s note: Route 1 Reporter is a subscriber-supported local news website. In the interest of the public discourse, articles about government policy are available for free. If you like the reporting, please support Route 1 Reporter on Patreon.
If all goes according to plan, a new Hyattsville Middle School could be open for students by 2023.
The new middle school will be located to the north of the existing Hyattsville Middle School, closer to the intersection of Oliver Street and 42nd Avenue, on land that currently hosts the existing school’s athletic fields. In turn, the athletic fields will be moved to an area on the site of the existing building, which will be demolished.
The design process is expected to last another year, with plans projecting final building approvals coming January 2022. The project is part of Prince George’s County’s Blueprint Schools Initiative, which will use public-private partnerships to build six new schools: five 1,200 student middle schools and one kindergarten through eighth-grade schools.
Under the public-private partnership program, private contractors will be hired to build and then maintain the schools for a 30 year term expiring in 2053. Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Co. has been selected to build the school. The maintenance contract has been granted to Atlanta-based Honeywell Building Technologies.
“These buildings are designed to withstand the test of time,” said Michael Ricketts, director of commercial markets for Gilbane Building Co.
This is not the first time Hyattsville Middle School has been rebuilt on-site. The original Hyattsville Middle School once stood much closer to 42nd Avenue, itself built atop the former Hyattsville High School on the same location. The current building dates to the 1970s, and has become dilapidated after years of deferred maintenance.
The building itself will be a maximum of four stories tall, with the tallest sections of the building on the northern side. The building is basically four boxes connected by a central structure, which will house common areas and a cafeteria. The building includes a two art classrooms, a dance classroom, a STEM-focused classroom and media lab, as well as spaces from theater and music classes. It also includes a planned stage and gymnasium multi-purpose room.
The planned relocation of the building has angered at least one neighbor who fears the new site of the school will cast shadows on his property. But Dan Muth, member of the Hyattsville Education Facilities Task Force pointed out the new scheme will end up providing more light to several houses currently shaded by the building.