Board Authorizes Execution of Purple Line Construction MOU

The county Board of Education this week authorized Superintendent Jack Smith to execute a memorandum of understanding with the Maryland Transit Administration regarding Purple Line construction.

The MOU covers issues at the Silver Spring International Middle School and the Sligo Creek Elementary School, located along Wayne Avenue.

A Purple Line station is under construction by the Purple Line Transit Partners at the corner of Wayne and Dale Drive, affecting operations at both schools now and when the light rail becomes operational on Wayne.

According to a memo from Smith to the board, the MOU includes:

  • Provisions regarding responsibility for maintenance of elements of the site, such as the retaining wall and traction power substation;
  • Notification of the Division of Construction, as well as both school principals, prior to work beginning on the school site;
  • Limits on hours of work and requirements to minimize noise during school hours;
  • Requirement that the planned retaining wall near the station be sufficient to support the existing structure, as well as any future improvements to the school, and be independently certified as sound;
  • A warranty period for landscaping on the site;
  • A provision for “high quality aesthetic measures” in design and landscaping to maintain the appearance of the school site; and
  • Requirement that the faculty/staff parking lot for SSIMS is fully operational and available for use by MCPS during the school year with accommodation for 154 spaces.

Smith noted that the MOU will also cover safety and security issues and that the county will provide a letter of intent that will outline the responsibilities of the county’s police department in providing security.

The MOU and letter of intent will include, according to the memo:

  • Security guidelines for all workers and contractors, limitations on site access, and MCPS badge and background check requirements for any worker who needs to access the interior of any building on the school site;
  • Requirement that a Purple Line employee or a foreman-level contractor who has been background checked be on-site at all times that work is being performed on the site during the school year;
  • Provisions that MTA will install security cameras at the station with positioning to capture the adjacent school parking lot, as well as the area around the station;
  • Establishment of a mutual aid agreement for all relevant public safety entities with jurisdiction in the area of the school and the station;
  • Language regarding regular patrols of uniformed officers;
  • A single point of contact for public safety concerns and a commitment that the state and the county public safety entities will provide representatives for back-to-school and other school events upon request; and
  • Clarification of responsibilities for first response of public safety entities in the event of an active emergency.

Smith also told the board during the Oct. 9 meeting that his office is working on a similar MOU for Rosemary Hills Elementary School, which he expects to present to the board later this fall.

News of the action was first reported in Bethesda Beat.

Photo of construction at SSIMS site by Mike Diegel.

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