Facility Planning and Site Selection

The Department of General Services is responsible for the construction, maintenance and operation of County facilities, including County office buildings and warehouses, police and fire stations, libraries, recreation centers and any other facilities under the control of the Executive Branch of County government.

Before any planning for the facility can begin, a project must have County Council approval and the potential user of the facility must meet readiness criteria. The project must be included in the Capital Improvements Program. The next step is to create a Program of Requirements (POR), which is completed before any sites are considered. The POR outlines the specifications of the new facility, including the size and function of specific spaces, building systems and finishes, as well as adjacencies. This document is a collaboration between OPD, DGS’ Division of Building Design and Construction and the County department the facility is for. The final version of the POR must receive approval from the County’s Office of Management and Budget.

When the POR is approved, staff can begin researching potential sites for the facility. Site evaluation is the responsibility of the Office of Planning and Development. In administering the site evaluation process, OPD coordinates the interests of the user department, the applicable Regional Services Center Director, the Office of Management and Budget, the public and affected outside agencies.

OPD is currently working on:

Wheaton Arts and Cultural Facility

OPD is managing the facility planning process for a new arts and cultural facility in Wheaton. Arts facilities planners were retained by the County in March 2018 to conduct a comprehensive analysis that will assess the vision for a new arts and cultural space and provide recommendations on the type, size and scope of the proposed arts facility. The first task for the consultants was to undertake a community engagement process to discover the community and cultural sector’s arts space needs. The consultants kicked off this task in April 2018 with tours of Wheaton and County-wide cultural arts facilities, one-on-one interviews and focus groups, as well as a presentation to the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee at its April 2018 meeting. Click here to review that presentation. The consultants then held public meetings to hear from community members on April 30, 2018 and May 1, 2018. After conducting this preliminary research, the consultants completed a market analysis and benchmarking study, which can be found here.

In June 2019, the consultants completed a preliminary program plan and business plan for the proposed facility. Please find that report here, with an accompanying presentation here. In February 2020, a Program of Requirements (POR) was completed. The POR includes detailed information about the specific space needs of the facility such as square footage and equipment requirements. The architect and a specialty theatre consultant used the 2019 facility planning reports as a basis for the POR. OPD is now working to test fit the facility on a site in the Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District and updated the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee on these efforts in June 2021.

The County Council approved the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center as a standalone Capital Improvement Project as part of the FY21 budget. Funding is for the planning and initial design activities.

Chevy Chase Library Building Project

The Office of Planning and Development is exploring the possible redevelopment of the Chevy Chase Library site. Additional information on the Chevy Chase Library Building Project may be found here.