Although the final Kent County Middle School Project listening session was held in early November, a decision about the project to replace the middle school awaits further studies as part of the Kent County Board of Education’s “The Six-Year Facilities Strategic Plan.”
The projected target date for a new middle school is 2026.
Funding, transportation, stormwater management, and public sentiment are part of the equation being calculated to determine if the new middle school will replace the current one in Chestertown, be a new structure in Worton, or be attached to Kent County High School in Worton.
Ward 4 Council Member Meghan Efland and the Chestertown Town Council see the continuing presence of a middle school in Chestertown as integral to the lifeblood of the community. The Town Council formally supported the building of the school in Chestertown at the November 7 council meeting.
“People in my Ward want the school to stay in Chestertown,” Efland say. “That’s part of reason they bought their houses, they like being close to the school, volunteering, and being a part of the children’s lives.”
Despite a reduction in the County census, Efland, who lives on Campus Avenue, says she sees a lot of families with younger children moving into the College Heights area, along with younger children showing up to the RiverArts KidSPOT program and Saturday Market.
“My hope is that we continue to attract more families,” Efland says, seeing that the enhanced ability for many to work from home has opened the door wider for future residents.
Even though the topic of a new middle school has been ongoing since 2018, Efland is concerned that a lot of people are still unaware of the fact that decisions are on the horizon.
“I feel like a lot of people don’t know about this. The Board of Ed started talking about this back in 2019 or earlier but I don’t think people realize this is an upcoming decision whether it’s because they don’t have children in he school system or whether their children are not in the school system yet. They don’t understand how this is going to impact them.”
Efland says there a third alternative to the three location choices recommended by the Board of Education.
“There is another option that is not on their list, a land swap, where we find another parcel of land within Chestertown.” The old school would be reverted to the County for demolition and a new school built within the town.
No matter the hurdles to rebuild the school in town, Efland promotes the Town’s willingness to become a cooperative partner with the Board of Ed and to offer alternative ideas for the upcoming feasibility study.
The Spy recommends going to the Kent County Middle School Project website for an analysis of the of projected ideas and costs. There is also a link to a community survey (at the top of the page).
This video is approximately seven minutes in length. To find out more about the Kent County Middle School Project, please go here.