Architects for Whitman addition to hold community meeting


Graphic by Selina Ding

By Zara Ali

RRMM-Lukmire Architects will hold three meetings in October and November to gather feedback from staff and community members on the outline for a three-story addition to the building in the Whittier Woods area. They plan to begin construction next fall.

The first two meetings will take place in October, to get input from staff and department resource teachers, and the November meeting will center around feedback from the community on the design.

Although the RRMM-Lukmire Architects group is still finalizing the design,, the addition will most likely be a three story classroom wing located on the area currently occupied by the WAUD, RRMM-Lukmire project architect Allison Legg said.

When the construction starts, the group will demolish the Whittier Woods area and install portables  in the parking lot to accommodate students until construction is finished, assistant principal Rainer Kulenkampff said.

The rebuilding, which will cost about $27 million and add 30 classrooms, comes after the school has experienced an increase in enrollment for the past four years, including a 50 student jump this year due to a large freshman class.

The increasing student population follows a trend countywide: MCPS enrollment increased this year by 2,000, totaling 163,000 students.

“The increase has actually been long-term for the last decade as we have actually seen 2500 new students every year,” MCPS spokesperson Derek Turner said. “That’s essentially like adding a new high school.”

The Whitman building is currently past capacity by around 200 students, resulting in larger class sizes. Some classes have reached 36 students, three above the maximum suggested classroom capacity, assistant principal Kristen Rudolph said.

The development of the addition leaves room for future installations if needed to accomodate the steady growth within the student population.

“When that addition opens in the fall of 2021, that will also be a part of a master plan if another addition had to happen, Whitman could then be up to capacity of 2700 kids,” principal Robert Dodd said. “The county is definitely addressing our issues.”