LA PLATA, Md. (April 21, 2017)—Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) broke ground on Billingsley Elementary School today during a ceremony held at the school site. Construction of the school will soon begin, and Billingsley is set to open at the start of the 2018-19 school year for nearly 600 students.
The school site is located off Billingsley Road, across from the Worthington neighborhood in White Plains. The state-rated capacity for the school is 758 students. The new school allows for future growth, and will also help to alleviate overcrowding at the elementary school level.
Board of Education Chairman Michael Lukas welcomed guests to the groundbreaking ceremony and highlighted design aspects Billingsley will feature.
"Instead of grass fields and tall trees, there will be a nearly 95,000 square-foot building ready for its doors to open to students on the first day of the 2018-19 school year. Design aspects focus on the natural environment of the property, including the forest, a small stream and wetlands areas. Instructional activities will focus on a green philosophy and environmental literacy," Lukas said.
Students from the Thomas Stone High School Army JROTC unit presented the colors at the start of the ceremony, followed by a student performance of the "Star Spangled Banner" by the Maurice J. McDonough High School Madrigal Lords and Ladies.
Da'Juon Washington, a North Point High School senior and Student Member of the Board of Education, served as the master of ceremonies. The groundbreaking of Billingsley signifies the increase of the total number of Charles County Public schools to 37 and is the 22nd elementary school.
Maryland State Sen. Thomas "Mac" Middleton shared greetings on behalf of the Southern Maryland delegation and said several groups of people helped Billingsley transform from an idea to a reality. "This project would not have been possible without the cooperation of the school Board, County Commissioners and the delegation. We are all dedicated to making sure that every future leader that comes through these school doors has access to endless possibilities," Middleton said.
Rachel Jones, a representative of Sen. Benjamin Cardin, attended the groundbreaking and presented a citation on his behalf to Board of Education Vice Chairman Barbara Palko. In presenting the citation, Jones said Senator Cardin is continually impressed with Charles County Public Schools.
"Charles County Public Schools is a role model school system for others in the state. Senator Cardin is aware of the excellent educational programs here in Charles County and your support of children. The senator is honored to continue to support the excellence here," Jones said.
Board Chairman Lukas and Vice Chairman Palko, as well as Board members Victoria Kelly, Margaret Marshall and Virginia McGraw, and Superintendent of Schools Kimberly Hill, were joined by several groundbreaking ceremony guests in the actual breaking of ground on the school site at the conclusion of the event.
Joining them were Charles County Commissioner President Peter Murphy, Commissioners Ken Robinson and Amanda Stewart, Middleton, Del. Susie Proctor, Washington, CCPS staff and other guests.
The 94,797 square-foot school can house 758 students. Design aspects include 35 classrooms, environmentally friendly landscaping, four outdoor activity areas including softball fields, a nature and exercise trail, and a soccer field in front of the school.