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Kent County Middle School Project


By unanimous vote, the Kent County Board of Education has selected the site for a new middle school.

The Board, acting on the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Karen Couch, voted Monday, Oct. 9 to build on the Chestertown campus of the current Kent County Middle School.

The decision is the culmination of a multi-year planning and study process to replace the aging Kent County Middle School with a new state-of-the-art facility expected to serve students in grades five through eight.

"My hat's off to Dr. Couch and everyone else who put the work in to do this analysis," said Board of Education President Joseph Goetz in calling for the vote Oct. 9.

A feasibility study was completed this year to aid in the site-selection process. The study reviewed five options for a new middle school, including the current Chestertown campus and Kent County Public Schools' Worton campus, home of the high school.

The middle school campus in Chestertown is located at 402 E. Campus Ave.

"We've been on this bandwagon for quite a while in terms of trying to make a determination about the location of the Kent County Middle School replacement school," Dr. Couch said.

Community input has been an integral part of the planning process for a new middle school. Community listening sessions have been held and online surveys were shared.

Dr. Couch capped off the site selection process by gathering a group of 21 Kent County Public Schools staff members, including teachers and administrators, and parents to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the Chestertown and Worton sites.
In considering the pros and cons of both sites, Chestertown ultimately received overwhelming support.

"This is arguably going to be the biggest project for the school system and the community, but it is going to be a long-lasting decision that all of us are going to hang our hat on and I wanted to make sure we got it right," Dr. Couch said.

The site selection is an important, but early, step in the process of planning, financing and building a new middle school.

Learn more about the Kent County Middle School project and the ongoing planning process below.




Ed Specs Committee

A committee comprising Kent County Public Schools administrators, educators, state officials, school construction experts and parents held meetings starting in 2021 to explore possible plans for renovating or replacing Kent County Middle School in Chestertown.
 
The Kent County Middle School Education Specifications (or Ed Specs) Committee narrowed down more than a dozen scenarios to three options under consideration by the Kent County Board of Education.
 
Following additional community input sessions, a feasibility study was completed in 2023 on five different options.

The Board's review process reduced that first to four options, then down to two.




Options

Students walk upstairs in KCMS

The leading options considered for Kent County Middle School's future were:
 
• Building a new Kent County Middle School on the Chestertown campus.

• Placing a new Kent County Middle School on a portion of the KCPS campus in Worton.
 
Adding fifth grade back to the middle school grade-band configuration also is being considered. Prior to consolidating to a single building more than a decade ago, the three KCPS middle schools served fifth through eighth graders.

A pair of discussions on the two options was held in September 2023. Reports from the those meetings are available for download below.



Community Input

A teacher helps students with their lockers.

Community input has been an integral part of the planning process for a new middle school.

Online surveys were shared with the community on options for the middle school and multiple series of listening and community input sessions have been held.

Kent County Public Schools held its latest pair of community meetings in June 2023 on plans for a new middle school.
 
The those community meetings were held: 
 
Tuesday, June 20 at 6 p.m.
Kent County Middle School media center,
402 E. Campus Ave., Chestertown
 
Wednesday, June 28 at 6 p.m.
Kent County High School auditorium
25301 Lambs Meadow Road, Worton
 
The June 28 meeting was livestreamed and recorded. The video is available at https://tinyurl.com/2p8e22zr.
 
Questions and comments on the project may be sent to [email protected].




Facilities Planning

In 2018, the Kent County Board of Education accepted and published a Six-Year Facilities Strategic Plan.
 
This was prepared by the Strategic Planning Committee. Members included Superintendent Dr. Karen Couch, additional KCPS administrators and educators, education and school construction experts, county officials and community members.
 
"The Six-Year Facilities Strategic Plan initiates a process that will bring the public school facilities of Kent County into the educational and performance standards of the 21st century," the plan states. "For a teacher to be effective in the classroom, a wide range of supports must be in place: a visionary and ambitious school administration, teaching materials, information technologies, training, and equally as important, instructional spaces that facilitate and enhance every form of learning."
 
Long-term planning projects included the formation of an Ed Specs Committee to consider the renovation or relocation of Kent County Middle School, as the aging building has physical plant issues. The committee also was tasked with reviewing the adequacy of the building's instruction spaces.
 
"The major decision will likely be whether to retain and renovate the existing facility, or to relocate the middle school to another site," the Facilities Strategic Plan states about Kent County Middle School's future.
 
A copy of the Six-Year Facilities Strategic Plan is available for download below.