The Frederick County Board of Education unanimously approved a proposed new site for Brunswick Elementary School at its meeting Wednesday night.
The new site would expand the elementary school campus to approximately 36 acres from its current 24.6 acres.
The acceptance of the site comes as a feasibility study on the school begins this month, which will assess and determine the renovation and capacity needs of the building, and whether a new school is needed. The accepted land will be incorporated into whatever needs the study determines.
The proposed plot of land sits directly east of the current school. The prototype design architect for Brunswick Elementary, GWWO, evaluated the land and found it would support new construction while allowing the current school to be occupied.
However, about 5 to 7 acres of the proposed site are encumbered by steep slopes and are unbuildable.
FCPS staff recommended, along with the approval of the site, that the school district ask the city of Brunswick to accept this portion of the land and leave it in its natural condition.
The feasibility study for Brunswick Elementary is expected to be completed in October.
Brunswick residents have long fought for a new school. The original school was built in 1952 and last renovated in 1980. The district built additions to the school in 1959 and 1978.
But the more pressing need for a new school is to relieve crowding. Brunswick Elementary School is at 145 percent of capacity, with 2019 enrollment projections estimating the school will be 227 students over capacity. The school has 10 portable classrooms.
The city government recently had to seek legal advice on providing affordable housing waivers because crowding in schools restricts the city’s ability to build.
Mayor Jeff Snoots lamented the inability to get a new school built.
“I’ve been here all my life, and I’ve seen how it works,” Snoots said recently. “Brunswick always takes a back seat until this last [Board of Education] meeting that everybody went to on the council, and we made it known that we’re tired of it.”