Butterfly Ridge Elementary School will have Community Recreation Center

February 25, 2017 / / News

By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Frederick News Post
Saturday, February 25, 2017

The new elementary school in western Frederick will be constructed with a large gym and recreation center operated in part by the city’s parks and recreation department.

Members of the Frederick County Board of Education favored including in the plans for Butterfly Ridge Elementary School such a center, which often functions as a hub for the community. Similar centers are dotted around Frederick County at other public schools, but the board said it has struggled with surging costs of constructing schools, and so it was unclear whether it could add the oversized gym.

Brad Ahalt, senior project manager with the school district, told board members that the school system had found cost savings because the design of Butterfly Ridge had been replicated before, like the new North Frederick Elementary School, and built.

“The contractors have performed the work before,” Ahalt said.

Ahalt noted that bids for Sugarloaf Elementary School — the new elementary school being constructed in Urbana, with the same design — had been distributed right before Butterfly Ridge. Contractors were able to adjust their bids when they lost out on Sugarloaf Elementary, Ahalt said. In some cases, the contractors who bid the highest on Sugarloaf bid the lowest on Butterfly Ridge — winning the contract, he said.

The gymnasium and recreation center will be managed by the city of Frederick Parks and Recreation Department and school administrators. Other centers are run through a partnership with the county’s parks and recreation department. The total expected cost of the center is $668,703.

The center, a 7,233-square-foot space, includes additional gym space and an activity room.

City Alderman Josh Bokee (D) had particularly pressed for the center and the oversized gymnasium. He said in a Friday interview that such a recreational facility doesn’t exist on the west side of the city, and so “it’s great news” it is being built.

“It’s going to be a great resource for the community,” Bokee said.

Both new elementary schools are due to open in 2018. Butterfly Ridge is expected to ease overcrowding in west Frederick.

The district doesn’t intend to use Sugarloaf as a new school right away, rather the plan is for Urbana Elementary School students to transfer into the new building while the school system knocks down and reconstructs Urbana Elementary.

The school district has estimated that Butterfly Ridge will cost roughly $46 million, and Sugarloaf will be about $40 million.

On Wednesday, the board approved seven contracts related to Butterfly Ridge, totaling a little more than $28.5 million. Of those contracts, $517,000 is dedicated to construction of the oversized gymnasium.