Greenbelt Middle School Community Day
The Greenbelt Middle School building on Edmonston Road was first built in 1937 and has numerous additions from later years. After 75 years the facility is being replaced by a brand new school building nearby which is scheduled to open this August at the start of the new school year. The Greenbelt City Council has appointed a Greenbelt Middle School Task Force to study the future uses of the old school building, and several options have been offered, from renovating the whole building to keeping only parts of it, from using it as a community center to housing a charter school there. On Saturday, May 5, the Task Force organized a community day at the Middle School. Members of the community were invited to give their input and a variety of activities were offered.
Krissy Beauchamp (left) and Monica Venzke, both of Greenbelt Girl Scout Troop 4816, volunteer at the welcome table, handing out programs and raffle tickets.
From right, Carolina Napp, her son Sebastian and daughter Ana, sign in at the welcome table. Behind them is David Lange, Chair of the Middle School Task Force.
From right, Little Miss Greenbelt Yasmyn Switzer, Junior Miss Greenbelt Sarah Crank, and Miss Greenbelt Victoria Gray sign in.
Greenbelt SITY Stars Jump Rope Team performs in the Middle School gym. This gym was added in 1953 and is a part of the building that will be kept. It is highly desirable for a community center or a school.
George Kochell, animation instructor for GAVA/GATE, known as “Mister Geo” to his students, demonstrates computer animation techniques. GAVA stands for Greenbelt Association for the Visual Arts and GATE is Greenbelt Access Television. Kochell is leading an animation project for Greenbelt’s 75th anniversary which will be shown at this October’s Utopia Film Festival.
Many city and community organizations have set up tables at the community event. Here City Manager Michael McLaughlin (second from right) and Assistant Director of Recreation Joe McNeal (right) visit the table for Greenbelt CARES, a youth and family services bureau.
Jeremy Ehrenreich (left) of Greenbelt-based Alight Dance Theater talks to a family. Angella Foster, the company’s artistic director, was here earlier but had to leave to teach a class. Ehrenreich is on the company’s board.
Behind the table Renee Ramirez is the president of the Parent-Teacher Organization at Turning Point Academy. Opened in August 2006, Turning Point is the first Prince George’s County Public Charter School and is currently sharing a building with Trinity Assembly of God Church on Good Luck Road in Lanham, just outside of the Greenbelt city boundaries. Ramirez tells me that 545 students from kindergarten to 8th grade are enrolled there and they come via lottery from all parts of Prince George’s County. Currently, she tells me, the students use one space for cafeteria and gym, have no lockers or playground, and have to use mobile trailers. Turning Point is hoping to use parts of the old Greenbelt Middle School building, and Ramirez says that they are willing to share space with others.
Juan Zeledon (left) is a leasing consultant and Maira Granados a leasing manager for Franklin Park at Greenbelt Station. Formerly known as Springhill Lake Apartments, this complex in Greenbelt West has nearly 3,000 one to four-bedroom apartments with monthly rents ranging from $950 to $2,000. Franklin Park, which is adjacent to Greenbelt Middle School, is trying to establish a primary health care center and there has been talks about using parts of the old school building.
Herbert Allen is the head coach of Greenbelt Lady Angels women’s basketball team which practices at Springhill Lake Recreation Center. The team has won several trophies at the annual Montreal M3 Basketball Tournament and will be going again this year. Allen tells me that every Thursday night from 8 to 9:45 pm, an open gym is held at Springhill Lake Recreation Center and every one is welcome.
George Boyce of GreenSTEMs is showing his robots and other electronic devices. He has been organizing meetings to create a technology activity center, also known as hackerspace, and is interested in using parts of the old Middle School building.
Karen Arrington of Greenbelt Pottery Group leads a children’s art activity making beads. Beads are made with air dry clay and patterns are created using stamps. Arrington is also a Greenbelt resident artist, with a pottery studio on the third floor of the Greenbelt Community Center.
Kids make buttons.
Middle School students are finishing their last school year in the old building and will be moving into the new building in August when the new school year starts.
Choir for The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Restoration Center, which meets for service every Sunday morning at 10 at Old Greenbelt Theatre in Roosevelt Center, performs in the Middle School gym. On the left, leading the group is Audrey Cunningham.
City Councilmember Konrad Herling receives a raffle ticket from Miss Greenbelt Victoria Gray as Junior Miss Greenbelt Sarah Crank and Little Miss Greenbelt Yasmyn Switzer hold ticket boxes.
Salvador Masia of Humberto Guzman’s mariachi band sings in the gym: “Viva Mexico! Viva America!”
City Councilmember Leta Mach (right) hands out stickers to visitors so they can vote for their preferred uses of the Middle School building. Green stickers are for Greenbelt residents not living in Franklin Park, red stickers for residents of Franklin Park, and blue for those outside of Greenbelt. Each visitor receives eight stickers.
The choices are written in English and Spanish, and here they are “Health Services,” “Services for Immigrants,” and “One-Stop Federal/State/County/City Benefits & Services Help.” The board on the right includes “Child & Infant Care,” “Pre-School Program for Children Ages 3-5,” and “Before & After School Care Program and Services.”
The Turning Point Academy slot is filled with stickers.
At Greenbelt Boys and Girls Club table, Dave (Woody) Morgan (left) is the commissioner for its flag and tackle football program and Julie Morgan is the club’s registrar. The club currently has 400 members and offers six programs: soccer, cheerleading, intramural basketball, county basketball, flag and tackle football, and track and field. Greenbelt residents can register for up to 5 sports for $140. On the right is Hunter Morgan.
The Greenbelt Middle School’s mascot is a bear.
Greenbelt Police Department’s D.A.R.E car. DARE stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education.
The new $54 million Greenbelt Middle School broke ground on September 27, 2010 and is expected to be a LEED Gold building opening in time this August for the new school year.
I also went on a tour of the old Middle School building and will write about it in a separate post.