A series of land use applications required to move forward with a high school next Belmont Ridge Middle School in Lansdowne heads to a joint public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the middle school.
The school, called HS-8 on the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, would occupy land consolidated around property the county purchased from the National Conference Center. Constructing the high school will mean removing the existing community park and rearranging the Belmont Ridge Middle site.
See the maps at right for detailed views of the site plans.
Two entrances are currently planned: the main one from Upper Belmont Place Road, which is an extension of the north end of Belmont Ridge Road; and the other off Kipheart Drive.
The proposed site, chosen over other land offered to the county, has divided Lansdowne residents. While many people in the community have expressed support for having the school in their community, others have raised concerns about traffic and property values among other things.
The land use requests call for a 278,00-square-foot school to serve 1,600 students on 96 acres consolidated from part of the Belmont Ridge Middle School property, the existing Lansdowne Sports Park and 45 acres obtained from the National Conference Center.
Besides the building, the high school site plan calls for a lighted stadium and lighted baseball and softball fields, track and field facilities, tennis courts, a basketball court and two soccer fields.
The 162,000-square-foot middle school will be reconfigured with two physical education fields—a soccer fields with walking track and a softball field—basketball courts and a play area. One soccer field will be eliminated at the school.
One soccer field and a public parking lot will remain on the Lansdowne Sports Park site as proposed. Residents and local youth sports organizations frequently use the existing park. LCPS and the County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) have a long-standing agreement for shared use of LCPS facilities, and plan to implement that for the combine school and park sites.
Separate bus staging areas are planned for each school, with 1,050 parking spaces planned at the high school, with the intent to discourage students from parking in the surrounding community. Pedestrian sidewalks and trails are also planned to encourage students to walk to the school.
The project calls for widening an Upper Belmont Place north of Riverside Parkway, the installation of roundabouts on Kipheart Drive and
Upper Belmont Place, signal and intersection improvements at Riverside Parkway and Kipheart Drive, and adjustment to signal timing at nearby traffic signals, among the proposed transportation improvements.
In addition, the National Conference Center seeks authority to continue operating during school construction, which will impact access to the NCC site. Surface parking areas on the 45-acre portion of the NCC will be replaced with a parking garage closer to the conference center.
Anyone wishing to speak at the hearing may sign up in advance by calling 703-777-0200 before noon July 18, or by signing up at the hearing. Each speaker has two minutes to comment.
More information about the plans can be found on the county’s website.