The Friends Community School (FCS) has been located on 4601 Calvert Road for 21 years, since it was established by the Adelphi Friends [Quaker] Meeting. It has taught K-6 grades, and recently expanded to teach 7th and 8th grades. This past school year was the final term for FCS at Calvert Road. They will move to their new site in Westchester Park on Kenilworth Avenue in the fall. FCS has been leasing the Calvert Road building since its establishment in 1985. The Westchester Park school is being built by FCS through contributions from the FCS community in its Grounding Our Future Campaign. The new site will be the permanent home for the school.
There is strong community interest in Calvert Hills for the old school to remain a school. College Park City Council voted this past week to explore for 120 days a lab school concept (in partnership with the Prince George’s County School District and the University of Maryland) for the Calvert Road site. If a lab school does not pan out, the city may consider other options for the use of that site including other school options. The latter scenario would fall in line with an interest from new Prince George’s County superintendent John E. Deasy for more small local community schools.
The new school is 27,000 square feet and sits on 17 wooded acres adjacent to Greenbelt National Park. It will be LEED certified and employ non-load-bearing straw bale technology. Straw is a renewable building resource that acts as superior insulation and is fairly easy to build with. It is equally impervious to fires, insects, high winds and heavy rains as traditional insulation. Straw bale structures typically save on 15% of wood used in a conventional structure. The new FCS is now the largest known straw bale structure in the world.
The new FCS will also feature a vegetated roof, a rain garden designed to limit soil erosion and filter pollutants from rainwater, and flooring that absorbs sunlight and stays warm during winter months. On cloudy days, floors will be heated by water pipes installed underneath.
There is presently a FCS summer camp still at the old Calvert Road school.
See the Gazette’s report on the FCS move.