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Category: Calvert Rd. School

Update on Calvert Road Child Care Center

Representatives from the University of Maryland will be at tonight’s City Council meeting to present the design development phase for the renovation of the former Calvert Road School. The design is currently 35-50% complete.

The proposed scope of work includes the demolition of the non-historic additions; rehabilitation of the original building; and the construction of a new addition and play area. According to the UMD design team, the estimated cost of the project has gone up to $6,897,159 from $5,688,560 back in 2015.

The preliminary design was submitted to the Prince George’s County Planning Department for review. The Community Planning Division, Environmental Planning Section, and Urban Design Section reviewed the plans and recommended minor changes to the landscaping and play area to better complement the historic structure.

After the Mayor and Council reviews the design, review at tonight’s worksession, public input will be taken at a community meeting, and the City staff will send their comments to the University.

A Split Council Approves UMD’s DayCare At City’s Calvert Rd Site

A split Council voted 4-4 last night supporting UMD’s proposal to operate its daycare center at City’s Old Calvert Rd school site. Mayor broke the tie to support the proposal.

According to the plan, the UMD will lease the site from the City for free for 40 years. The Center will have 120 seats. However, it will allow only 12 seats to City residents not affiliated with the university. UMD will use the Bright Horizons Childcare provider to run the daycare center. The cost per child could be $1200 per month.

The property has been vacant for many years. Some residents supported the proposal, hoping the plan would eliminate an eyesore.

However, many other residents questioned whether the long-term lease would benefit the City and its residents. I also thought we should have looked seriously into alternatives for the property. Though there have been informal attempts to seek other public use in the past, no formal attempts have been pursued by the Council. Unfortunately, my amendment to seek an RFI (Request For Interest) failed. Many residents also questioned the proposal’s benefits to the residents and the City.

I hoped a majority Council’s “No vote” would force the UMD to get into a better deal with the Cty to allow more College Park residents to have seats at the center.

The City owns the facility. However, I wasn’t happy with the City’s deal with the University. It was an issue of equity for our City residents.

It was a difficult vote as I was always passionate about providing quality childcare and education for our children. Please do not consider my vote as anything against parents who want to have better daycare in the City.

I want to thank and congratulate those who came out last night and supported the plan. Though limited, I hope our residents can benefit from the facility after it is renovated and operational.

Update: 4/26/2023: I recently came across a discussion about our 2017 Council vote. I have and will be supporting quality daycare projects in any part of the City. I strongly advocated for the Monarch Childcare project, similar to the Bright Horizons childcare project.

Additionally, I have worked to enhance educational opportunities for our children.

  • I worked to bring a free online tutoring program to all College Park students.
  • I advocated adding an afterschool enrichment program at a local school in partnership with our local school board and the University of Maryland’s MILE program.
  • I also supported the annual grant program to our local schools to increase educational opportunities and extracurricular activities.
  • I advocated for creating the College Park Academy, which offered high-quality education to the city students.
  • I hope this helps answer your question. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Redevelopment Options of the Calvert Road Property

I want to thank everyone for your input about the use of the Calvert Road School property as a potential daycare. The property has been mostly vacant for many years now and the residents want to put the property to a good public use, so the City and the neighborhood can benefit from the site. The City Council will make an important decision about this property at tonight’s Council meeting.

At the last week’s Council worksession, we discussed seeking a potential development partner using the RFI (Request for Interest) option for the redevelopment of the Calvert Road property. Public entities often use the RFI option as a standard way to find potential partners to develop properties for public use. Unfortunately, this is an option we have not pursued to redevelop the Calvert Road property yet.

While we should praise UMD’s effort to be a partner with the current proposal, we should also consider that there could be other proposals that may potentially benefit our residents better at this site. This may only take a few more weeks to get additional partners and thus we should seriously consider giving this option a chance. The time will include 45 days to get initial response and some additional time to review potential proposals (if we get any). As a body, the Council should be able to complete the process fairly quickly. With or without getting additional partners, the Council can still consider the current UMD proposal, in the end.

As public servants, the Mayor and Council should consider the best use for the Calvert Rd property for our residents. With that purpose in mind, I’ll ask the City Council to consider a resolution at tonight’s meeting authorizing staff to issue a RFI ​seeking additional partners to redevelop the Calvert Rd School site.

More on Calvert Road School Property

The Council discussed further some of the questions at last night’s City Council meeting. Please see below the responses we got from staff.

Q1. Will there be code inspections done? If so, who will perform them?

By law, if the University leases the building, it would be exempt from County and City inspections and permits because it is a unit of the State. However, as part of the lease agreement, the City can require periodic inspections based on the fact that it owns the property. This is a standard part of any lease. Also, the City will want to review the renovations/construction on the property and so will be part of that process.

Q2. Under what conditions can UMD, Bright Horizons, Faculty and other users file a law suit against the City?

The ability of anyone to file a lawsuit depends on whether they have a cause of action, in other words, a complaint that can be recognized by the courts. With respect to this property and lease, a cause of action would be either in tort or contract. A breach of contract action could be brought by the University if the City did not comply with the terms of the lease. The City could bring the same type of action against the University. The lease will make provision for notice if one party believes that the other party has breached the lease, and will provide an opportunity to cure the breach. Since the City is not providing the daycare, and is not contracting with anyone for this service, it would not be part of a breach of contract suit by clients of Bright Horizons. The other basis for a lawsuit is in tort. This would apply to anyone who is injured due to the negligent or intentional act of the City, its agents, officials or employees. The University, per the lease, would have the responsibility for the renovations and the ongoing maintenance of the property that is under its control. Tort claims based on the negligence, or the intentional act of an employee or agent, are directed to the entity that has control of the property or the person. Since the City would not have control of Bright Horizons, or the University, or the property, it would be unusual for the City to be found liable for any tort damages. The City will be plowing the parking lot and so could be liable for claims related to that, if it is in some way negligent. In this answer we have responded to the question of who can file a lawsuit, which is of course quite different that who can win one. 2 In any event, the City will require in the lease that UMD and Bright Horizons hold it harmless from any lawsuits based on acts or omissions by UMD, Bright Horizons or their agents, employees and invitees and name the City as an additional insured.

Q3. What happens if Bright Horizons pulls out prior to the initial 10 year period?

The University would have the opportunity to replace Bright Horizons with a similar fully occupied daycare facility. The City has the right to review and approve the qualifications of the new company and the proposed program. If not approved, or if the property becomes vacant, this will be a default in the lease, which will end the lease with the space reverting to the City. The University will have the ability to cure this default if it can. The City’s access to using the space would not change unless the City agreed to change the terms of use. If early termination is caused by a determination by the County or a court that there has been a violation of site “public use” requirements, the lease ends and property reverts to City at no cost.

Q4. Why don’t we request that UMD pay for Public Services’ initial move? Otherwise, we could negotiate to stay in the current building until school, City Hall or other space such as Stone Industrial is completed?

The University is providing space for Public Services at no charge for four years. As part of the negotiations, the City has said it will pay for relocation costs. The negotiating team does not believe the University will agree to pay the city’s relocation expenses. The negotiating team believes the tentatively agreed upon terms are the most favorable we are able to negotiate.

Q5. Who will carry the insurance policies on the land, building, and business for the school?

The City insures all of the property that it owns with the Local Government Insurance Trust. In the lease, UMD and Bright Horizons will be required to also insure the property and all operations and name the City as an additional insured. This will also be true for any construction work done on the property.

Q6. Who and when will a request be done as to whether the daycare is considered a public purpose and whether it will be permitted by the county?

The University will be responsible for obtaining the opinion from the County on this issue.

Q7. Why don’t we renovate the building ourself and then rent it to UMD assuming such a move would be permitted by the county?

If the Council wishes to have the building used for the daycare purpose, the long-term lease with the University paying all construction costs is less expensive and less risky for the City. The renovation and expansion of the building will cost more than $4 million. However, if the Council directs staff to pursue an alternative to the current UMD proposal, it will certainly do so.

[The City has not pursued a RFI (Request for Interest) route from potential partners in order to explore potential uses of the property. It may take 2-3 month to get initial response from interested partners

The City does not know how much revenue it may generate from such a partnership]

Hope you’ll find this helpful. Please let me know if you have further questions. Thank you!

Details About Child Care Proposal at Calvert Road Site

Calvert Road School Site

Calvert Road School Site

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City will host a Public Forum on a proposal for a Child Care Program at the Calvert Road School will be held.

Here are the main highlights about the proposal:

  • The proposal the City would “lease” the Calvert Road school site, which is owned by the City to the University of Maryland.
  • The University of Maryland has contracted with Bright Horizons, to provide daycare services.
  • The Child Day Care Center would serve 120 children 6 weeks of age through 5 years.
  • The City and UMD would enter into a 40 year lease under which between 12 and 17 seats in the Child Care Center would be designated for City residents who are not associated with the University of Maryland.
  • Parents of these children would still need to pay tuition which will be set by Bright Horizons and UMD.
  • UMD would construct a new building at the site
  • The UMD would be responsible for building maintenance.
  • The City would be responsible for snow removal for the parking lot and sidewalks and lawn mowing.
  • The City would not receive rent during the lease
  • City residents would be able to use community meeting space (3,000sq ft) after five on weekdays and on weekends.
  • The City’s contribution would be use of the facility and parking lot (valued at $788,500)
  • University of Maryland’s contribution would be the capital investment to renovate the facility, plus providing office space for the Public Services staff currently located at the Calvert Road site for up to 4 years (valued at 4.5 million). The new office spaces will be furnished with the expertise of contractors, such as office fitouts Melbourne.

After a presentation about the project, residents will have the opportunity to ask questions or make comments about the proposal.   For additional details please follow the link at:  http://www.collegeparkmd.gov/document_center/MayorCouncil/Agendas/2017RegularMeeting/031417RMP.pdf

City and UMD to Negotiate Using Calvert Rd School as a Daycare

umd-calverd-rd-daycare
At last night City Council meeting, the City Council approved authorizing staff to enter into negotiations with the University of Maryland (UMD) on their child care proposal for Calvert Road School.

The University of Maryland (UMD) wants to open up a facility to provide day care for their employees. They plan to contract with an experienced day care provider to operate the facility. UMD is currently looking at Bright Horizons as the day care operator. The City owns the Calvert Rd school property and it is one of the locations that UMD is looking at as a potential location for the day care operation.

UMD has made an offer to the City for use of the property. As proposed, the day care would serve 120 children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. There will be a per child fee charged to attend the day care. Under Option 1- Ground Lease- UMD funds improvements, UMD leases the Calvert Road property from the City for a 40- year term- at no cost, the City provides trash removal and grounds maintenance at no charge (estimated cost of $20,000 annually), meeting space would be available for the community in the renovated school building on weekends. Enrollment -City residents who work at UMD would be guaranteed seats, there would 8 seats guaranteed for City residents who do not work at UMD, UMD faculty and staff who do not reside in the City would have priority for the remaining seats. If there are remaining seats they could go to anyone who does not fall into the listed categories

Option 2- Partnership Lease – CP and UMD would share cost of improvements- 25% City 75% UMD. Estimated City outlay providing the land and a capitol outlay of $1.1 million. Under this option the City would provide trash removal and grounds maintenance at no charge (estimated cost $20,000 annually) and meeting space would be available for the community in the renovated school building on weekends. Enrollment- City residents who work at UMD would be guaranteed seats, City residents who do not work at UMD- 30 seats, UMD faculty and staff who do not reside in the City -90 seats. If there are remaining seats they could go to anyone who does not fall into the listed categories.

If either proposal is approved, it would require demolishing most of the buildings currently in place and restoration of a portion of the old schoolhouse. Cost of renovations as estimated by UMD is 5.6 million. They also estimated a $950,000 start-up operating budget.

Council and staff, and perhaps others, will now develop a negotiation strategy and discuss and consider the options offered by UMD and perhaps alternative options.

If negotiation succeeds, the Council will vote on final agreements in a future open Session.

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