New designs for Franklin and Lowell Elementary Schools were unveiled at Tuesday night's MCPS board meeting in the administration building located on South Avenue near Sentinel High School.

Chief architect with L'Heureux Page Werner, Steven L'Heureux, began by putting to rest the idea that the entire Franklin school building would be demolished.

"We're not tearing down everything with this school, we're keeping the gym," L'Heureux said. "We're adding on around it, and in true 21st century fashion, into three different learning communities. It's been an incredibly inclusive process with faculties, parents and community members."

L'Heureux said that both demolition and construction would take place simultaneously with both projects.

"As soon as school is done, we'll begin construction," he said. "The way we've designed the building we can start demolition and construction of the new building simultaneously. The goal is to have the new school, both Franklin and Lowell up and occupied within 15 months, so we'll only miss one school year in the building."

Lowell School Image

Lowell Elementary, with its historic significance, will require special planning.

"We'll have a 30,000 square feet addition, so it's a sizable addition and remodel,"  L'Heureux continued. "We're orienting the building differently because it currently has design and security issues that we can resolve by turning the entry to the north and give a better tie to the playground spaces and the drop-off areas."

L'Heureux said almost 100 percent of the labor used on both buildings would be local.

"We're promoting that fact," he said. "It's part of the reason why the school district is parceling out the projects the way they are, is to not overwhelm the resources of the area, with all the other big projects we have around here."

The new and remodeled schools were made possible by the passage of a $158 million bond issue in November 2015.