WHS & BPI Follow Up QA

Below is a follow up Question and Answer to the final Western High School and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute feasibility study meeting.

 

Questions are broken out by topic and frequency asked. Some questions were merged to form the "Frequently Asked" section, and any questions not answered by the "Frequently Asked" section are listed below in "Additional Question." However, the full list of questions asked during the meeting can be found at the bottom of this page labeled "Question Index."

 

SWING SPACE


Frequently Asked Questions 

Why do students need a swing space and what are the considerations for a space?

A swing space is necessary to ensure the safety of students and staff during the Construction phase of the project. The goal for the swing space process is to minimize the amount of disruption experienced by students. To do that many factors are considered such as:

  • Facility size and location
  • Facility infrastructure for academic programming
  • Enrollment numbers
  • Distance from current school/impact on student commutes
  • Access to regulation fields and courts

When will students move into this temporary facility?

The move to a swing space will occur once construction work begins (approximately 24 to 30 months from June 2022). Until that time, City Schools will continue to complete routine maintenance work on the old systems. The school community would remain in the temporary facility until construction was complete (estimated construction time is 36 months).

Why can’t both Poly and Western be in the same swing location?

Due to the population sizes of the schools, there is not a single swing location within City Schools’ current portfolio that could house both schools at the same time. Therefore, each school will have its own swing location. 

What locations are currently being considered and is there air conditioning?

The following locations are the primary locations under consideration for swing sites, but additional sites could be considered:

  • Northwestern High School (Window AC Units)
  • Chinquapin Building (AC)
  • Garrison Building (AC)

How will you ensure the swing spaces can support teaching and learning? How is the budget for swing space determined?

After swing spaces are selected and the Design phase has begun, the project team will prepare the swing spaces’ infrastructure for each school’s specific programming (Ex. CTE labs, computer labs, etc.). The goal is to create spaces comparable to the existing facilities taking into consideration the academic programming, so that there is minimal to no disruption. The swing space renovation budget is determined during the planning of the swing space.

What will transportation for students look like?

Students who already use MTA, will continue to use MTA services. Students who received specialized transportation due to an IEP or approved status will continue to receive those services.

 

Additional Questions 

How will children be protected if staying later for after school activities?

Student safety is a priority in every space where students are located. City Schools Police, school leadership, and the Central Office team will work together to ensure students are safe and schools are equipped with safety plans.

Has a college campus been considered to use as a swing space to keep the schools together during this very disruptive time?

No, a college campus has not been considered.

Have you considered shuttle busses from Western/Poly to the new sites as I think the sites are further West and not as close to the middle of the city?

The students who attend WHS and BPI live in a variety of different neighborhoods. The MTA is the primary method of providing transportation to secondary students and will continue to be the primary method for when students are in a swing space. Students who receive specialized transportation will continue to have that support.

Is it possible to update at least some of the ventilation systems using available federal funds prior to the construction timeframe?

City Schools provided upgrades to air filters or air purifiers during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. City Schools will continue to complete maintenance work on the current facility, but new funding cannot be applied until the facility goes through a complete renovation.

Is there a thought to have another high school be awarded the Ingenuity Program so that families hoping to enroll in that at Poly have another option if the announced swing space doesn't work for them?

There are no plans to expand the Ingenuity Program into other high schools.

Does City Schools offer a hardship transfer opportunity if the swing location is truly not accessible for a student attending Poly or Western?

City Schools does not have a "hardship” transfer process. However, there are regular opportunities for students and families to consider transferring to other schools.

 

 

ENGAGEMENT & FEEDBACK


Project Phases with Major Milestones

Project Timeline with Major Milestones

Example Enagement Activities Throughout the Project Phases

Sample engagement chart organized by stakeholder and project phase

Frequently Asked Questions 

What engagement has been done up to now?

During the feasibility study (Planning) phase of the project, the 21st Century School Buildings Program engagement team held two virtual community meetings, excluding the June 7 meeting, and recorded feedback submitted via the question logs. Additionally, eight meetings were held with the school staff to discuss the needs of both school programs; including one that was open to the alumni association.

What will engagement look like moving forward?

Community feedback is important to this process. The most engagement for this project happens in the next two phases, Pre-Design and Design. However, the engagement team is available and will continue to have touch points throughout the process. The first graphic above details the major steps within each phase and when community or school input is collected or shared. All community input and feedback are welcomed; however, to be considered it must meet the Educational Specifications, which will be made available before the Design phase, and City Schools’ Design Standards. The second graphic goes further into detail about when and how the engagement team will connect with each stakeholder throughout the process. These are sample engagement activities and subject to changed based on external factors.

Where can we find information on this project?

All feasibility presentations live on the Program website here. All meetings will be posted on our website calendar as well as on our social media accounts. If you register to attend a meeting, you will automatically be included in our listserv for meeting reminders and announcements. To reach a member of the engagement team, please reference the contact slide from any of the presentations.

 

Additional Questions 

Will parents, students, and other stakeholders have input regarding ensuring that there is a good fit regarding the type of school that Poly is designed to function as (i.e. STEM school) and the proposed renovation?

The engagement team will provide input opportunities for the stakeholders on the building process. The school will continue to provide input opportunities for parents on aspects of school programming. The 21st Century Academic team will engage with school leadership to continue to strengthen and enhance programming.

Can an in-person meeting be arranged to allow pertinent issues to be aired?

The 21st Century School Buildings Program is working toward having a hybrid meeting option for future meetings. To reach a member of the engagement team, please reference the contact slide from any of the presentations.

Shouldn’t the student stakeholders be the classes of 2027 and beyond?

Based on experience, student feedback comes best from those with lived experiences and can speak to the current layout of the building. Those students can aid in the efficiency of the proposed new project design. However, future students are always welcome and encouraged to participate in meetings and give their feedback and input.

Can you give more concrete examples of what was learned (from previous 21st Century projects) and how that is going to be done differently this time around?

Enumerable and unique lessons were learned from each 21st Century project that have and will continue to inform planning, design development and construction of this and future projects. Examples of project elements influenced by lessons learned include, furniture selections, finishes, fixtures, landscape designs, locations and sizes of windows, room adjacencies, building materials, and traffic patterns, to name a few.

How many people are on this call? How do we know that the Poly and Western community is really on here?

The June 7th meeting had 94 attendees. The school, alumni association, families and surrounding community will continue to receive meeting information for participation in the upcoming phases.

 

RENOVATION & DESIGN


Frequently Asked Questions 

How was the renovation option decided?

There were numerous considerations reviewed including community request to retain spaces with traditional significance, HVAC issues, cost implications between the two options, and partner, alumni and community investments made in the existing building and site.

Slides 8 and 9 of the latest Feasibility Study presentation found here detail a complete list of renovation advantages.

What is the timeline for the renovation?

Please see the above Project Phases with Major Milestones graphic. 

 

Additional Questions 

Was there ever a consideration to make the entire complex a Poly facility to aid with the renovation and research building a new school building for Western High School?

No, the current location has served both school communities well and is of importance to both school communities. The renovation of both schools must occur at the same time due to the infrastructure of the building.

Has a bridge been considered across Cold Spring Lane?

No, the bond funding from the Built to Learn Act cannot be applied to work outside of the building property line. However, City Schools is working with the City and Department of Transportation to figure out how to address pedestrian safety through a range of solutions. City Schools is committed to working with the other agencies to come up with solutions to current and anticipated challenges.

How "green" will Poly be?

Under the City Schools Design Standards all projects will be built to LEED Silver standards.

What are the safety measures for the renovated buildings pertaining to windows?

Windows must comply with material and performance standards in the City Schools Design Standards. The standards provide specifications to ensure optimal safety, performance, and comfort. The windows will also be tempered glass to reduce injuries if damaged.

Is creating an academic environment commensurate with the top high schools, such as those in Howard and Montgomery counties in the state, a priority?

Yes, these school buildings will be commensurate with top high schools in other counties. The buildings will support excellence in teaching and learning with flexible and adaptable space, create learning areas designed for interaction and collaboration, and provide technology-equipped classrooms, enabling students to meet today's—and tomorrow's—high standards, and will provide communities with a shared public resource that will enrich their neighborhoods.

Are there preliminary plans to retain the radio and aerodynamic areas?

Schools can identify building elements for repurposing. The 21st Century Program will make every effort to preserve elements valued by the school.

Are the halls remaining the same width?

In this renovation plan, corridor width is reduced to allow for larger classrooms and resolve ADA access issues. However, the final layout will be determined during the Design phase.

Is there an effort to create net zero or near net zero energy buildings so that there wouldn’t be a need to downsize Poly?

This project will not be a net zero school. Projects will be constructed to LEED Silver standards. During the latter stages of Design, this goal may lead to a higher certification. The current building has an excess of square footage, the plan includes eliminating excess square footage creating a more efficient and right-sized space for the programs.

Will there be a dedicated engineering class at Poly and Western to meet with the design and construction teams over the next 4 years?

The individual schools make programming decisions. At this time, there is no dedicated engineering class scheduled to meet with the design and construction teams. However, the engagement team will make specific efforts to include students in the engagement process throughout Design and Construction.

How long did these renovations [Forest Park and Lake Clifton Park Building] take and what challenges you had to overcome that you learned from that will make work at Poly/Western go smoother and faster?

The Forest Park construction timeline was 17 months and the Lake Clifton Park Building construction timeline was 15 months. Please keep in mind the WHS and BPI project will consist of two school programs so the construction schedule will take longer.

The athletic facilities, particularly the track and fields, need improvements, bathrooms, bleachers, improved access, is that a part of the 21st century budget?

The athletic fields and facilities are not a part of the renovation plan. There have been recent investments to the fields by community partners, and City Schools will continue to welcome conversation with external partnerships about any additional investments the community would like to make.

Will historic elements of the building be preserved like the dedicated memorial spaces inside and outside the building?

Yes, during the Design phase building elements can be identified for repurposing. The 21st Century Program will make every effort to preserve elements valued by the school.

How will problems with traffic patterns be addressed in the design?

These items will be reviewed in detail with traffic studies and assessments. Once completed, the engagement team will review findings and potential solutions with project stakeholders.

It looked like the building square footage of Poly would be decreased, is that space to be demoed or will it be dead space?

The exact design will determine any space reduction. However, it is intended that a portion of the BPI lab building would be demolished.

 

GENERAL QUESTIONS


We need to understand what is mandatory under the 21st Schools guidelines verses flexibility.

All school construction projects must comply with City Schools’ Design Standards, which provide the minimal requirements for facility design and construction and the project-specific Educational Specifications.

Is the City College renovation still happening?

Yes, this project is happening.

Where can we find information on the MSA's architecture and general contracting pools?

The Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) will publicly issue Request for Proposal (RFP) solicitations. Firms that meet the qualification requirements in the RFPs are welcome to submit a response.

How do we recommend architectural firms?

The architectural and engineering (AE) and construction management (CM) selection process is open, competitive, and not limited to MSA’s existing AE and CM pools.  Information about the opportunity can be found on the MSA website at the time of RFP issuance.

 

QUESTION INDEX


 

  • Is a swing space necessary?

  • Has consideration been given to the possible drop in enrollment at both schools due to these renovations and the academic impact for future students during this process?

  • how can you ensure that academic programming will not be diminished during the flex period when students will not have access to high quality lab spaces (e.g. aerospace lab, aquaponics lab) for years of their High school experience?

  • Will there be a transportation plan developed to ensure students can get from lightrail to the swing space?

  • Will there be additional bus routes added for these 1400+ students?

  • Could shuttle busses be added?

  • How will children be protected of staying later for after school activities?

  • Could you please repeat the 3 potential swing space locations?

  • Will safety of the location be considered when choosing a swing space? 

  • Will the MTA make route adjustments? How will transportation be thought about for the Swing Site?

  • Will both schools be located at the swing schools?

  • Where will the swing space be located?

  • Can you share which neighborhoods they might be located in?

  • How much money is set aside for equipping/renovating these two swing spaces? 

  • Has a college campus been considered to use as a swing space keep the schools together during this very disruptive time?

  • Will the potential swing sites have the appropriate facilities to support athletics - both indoor and outdoor?

  • A swing site that is more centrally located in the city, would help assure kids from all sections of the city can attend. Was this considered? Are there no feasible locations that are more centrally located?

  • Question via call in - "Since the students are not scheduled to move into swing for three years, will the current facilities (Poly & Western) continue to be serviced?"

  • What’s the earliest that the transition school will be used?

  • Have you considered shuttle busses from Western/Poly to the new sites? 

  • Have you considering separating the Poly and Western populations to find more appropriate swing spaces? Or is it a requirement that both schools go to the same swing location?

  • Why was NW High School closed, and if you plan to prepare that space first, is that part of the design phase or construction phase?

  • Is there any way to keep the 2 schools together?

  • Is it possible to update at least some of the ventilation systems using available federal funds prior to the construction timeframe?

  • Have potential spaces been identified? Are they existing/operating schools with empty classrooms? Or some other buildings that will be used as schools for the 3-year construction period?

  • So, the earliest that students would be moving into the swing space would be 2 1/2 years from now?

  • Will students be in the buildings during any phase of construction, including demolition?

  • Is there a thought to have another high school be awarded the Ingenuity Program so that families hoping to enroll in that at Poly have another option if the announced swing space doesn't work for them? 

  • How much money is budgeted to prepare and renovate the swing space? 

  • What is the capacity of Northwestern High School? Do we anticipate that it can host all students?

  • Will the transportation needs of the students be taken into account?

  • Will any construction occur while students are in the Poly/Western building?

  • What will be the level of engagement of both parents and students?

  • Will parents, students, and other stakeholders have input regarding ensuring that there is a good fit regarding the type of school that poly is designed to function as (i.e STEM school) and the proposed renovation?

  • When was the feedback sought from parents and the community?

  • Can a in person meeting be arrange to allow pertinent issues to be aired?

  • How will ensure that the community’s voice is actually heard and acknowledged?

  • Will students be afforded the opportunity to shadow the process - ie the design and the construction phases? Internships?

  • Why weren’t the parents/students asked for their opinion regarding renovate vs new build?

  • We need a face to face meeting (Answered as "Can we have a face-to-face meeting?")

  • What are the opinions of the educators of both schools?

  • Can you send out the slides from today’s presentation?

  • Will the engagement include input on how the school is designed? 

  • Will the procurement services information be shared publicly? Will there be an opportunity for community buy in?

  • Will the Interscholastic Athletic Office or Administration have input regarding the athletic facilites?

  • Shouldn’t the student stakeholders be the classes of 2027 and beyond?

  • How many people are on this call? How do we know that the poly and western community is really on here?

  • Can you give more concrete examples of what was learned and how that is going to be done differently this time around?

  • What hyperlink should we use to find the recording of this meeting?

  • Do the potential swing spaces have AC?

  • Is there any chance the swing space would be trailers?

  • Does city schools offer a hardship transfer opportunity if the swing location is truly not accessible for a student attending Poly or Western?

  • Was there ever a consideration to make the entire complex a Poly facility to aid with the renovation and research building a new school building for Western High School?

  • I guess it depends on the new Poly entrance, but has a bridge been considered across Cold Spring Lane?

  • How "green" will Poly be?

  • In reviewing the renovations for other schools presented, the natural lighting was beautiful, however it encompassed a lot of windows to enable this. What are the safety measures for the renovated buildings pertaining to windows?

  • Is creating an academic environment commensurate with the top high schools, such as those in Howard and Montgomery counties, in the state a priority? (I.e., science labs, computer labs, engineering and robotics development space, etc.)

  • Are there preliminary plans to retain the radio and aerodynamic areas?

  • How was this decided? Renovation vs new building? 

  • So money was the deciding factor?

  • Speaking on the design is jumping the gun…we need to take several steps backwards and start at the beginning (Answered as "Can we start at the beginning of this process?")

  • Does this start in 3 years or will it be completed in 3 years?

  • Are the halls remaining the same width?

  • Is there an effort to create zero net or near zero net energy buildings so that there wouldn’t be a need to downsize Poly?

  • Will there be a dedicated engineering class at Poly and Western to meet with the design and construction teams over the next 4 years?

  • would both schools be renovated simultaneously?

  • I'm very interested to learn about how long these renovations took and what challenges you had to overcome that you learned from that will make work at Poly/Western go smoother and faster.

  • The athletic facilities, particularly the track and fields, need improvements, bathrooms, bleachers, improved access, is that a part of the 21st century budget?

  • Will historic elements of the building be preserved like the dedicated memorial spaces inside and outside the building?

  • How will problems with traffic patterns be addressed in the design?

  • What is the current projected start time of the construction- -please give us a date- we know it may change- and not the sample planning outline? This is critical for families to know how their current students may be impacted and prospective students to know for the choice process.

  • To confirm, the procurement of design and constructions services has begun?

  • In the aerial photo, it looked like the building square footage of Poly would be decreased, is that space to be demoed or will it be dead space?

  • Where can we find information on the MSA's architecture and general contracting pools?

  • We need to under what is mandatory under the 21st Century School guidelines vs. flexibility?

  • How do we reccomend architectural firms?

  • Is the City College enovation still happening?