Damascus High School’s Long-Awaited Renovation


(The Fierberg National Law Group, 2019)

Anushka Shah, Staff Writer

   Forty-five years after its last update, the Montgomery County Board of Education has finally approved Damascus High School for a long-awaited onsite renovation. First built in 1950, Damascus is the oldest Montgomery County high school that hasn’t been granted a renovation thus far. The recent news of an update has been received with skepticism, as this isn’t the first time that our school has been promised a renovation. Fortunately, however, it appears to show some real potential this time. Principal Kevin Yates stated that, “This is the furthest we’ve ever come,” and confirmed that the project is “on track.” 

   The architecture firm has been confirmed to be Moseley Architects, which is the same company that renovated Montgomery County’s Seneca Valley and Paint Branch high schools. They have also designed the new Fayette Square at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

   Next month, the firm will begin arranging focus groups, coordinating with Montgomery County, and meeting with students, staff, and the community in order to narrow down the necessary specific updates, facilities and design elements.

   The official construction will break ground in July 2024 and is scheduled to wrap by August 2026. Principal Yates has described it as an “onsite renovation,” since students will still return to school in September of the same year. He expressed his desire to maintain all of the classes that are currently offered and to keep the CTE and specialty rooms intact. 

   Construction will focus on renovating a few spaces at a time. The parts of the building that are under construction will be closed off, and fans and filters will ensure that dust and other contaminants don’t affect the occupied parts of the building or the individuals inside of them. 

   As the construction progresses, roads will likely be closed off, which means that temporary roads will have to replace them. This may limit the amount of school parking spots that are available to students. 

   In addition, while Principal Yates hopes to maintain access to our athletic fields, there is no guarantee. During Seneca Valley’s renovation, access to their athletic fields was lost, which forced them to exclusively participate in away games for two years. 

   Needless to say, despite the best efforts to sustain our educational environment by our leaders, contractors, and construction team, Damascus’s renovation will clearly require slight adjustments and flexibility by the students and staff. Luckily, the school that comes out on the other side will be worth it.