GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — South Lake Elementary School in Gaithersburg is one of Montgomery County’s largest elementary schools. Described as overcrowded, and simply appalling, for the past five years, community members have complained to the school board and county officials about its unacceptable conditions.

 Nearly 900 students fill the building originally meant for 694. However, overcrowding isn’t the only issue, as there have also been reports of collapsing ceilings, overheating, air quality and HVAC malfunctions, lack of ADA compliance, and even a rodent problem.

South Lake was included in the county’s Capital Improvements Program for fiscal years 2021-2026. Recently, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to move up the new construction project timeline to 2023.

The program calls for a complete teardown of the existing school board members say is long overdue.

“The South Lake community has waited years and years to be prioritized by the school system, the board, and the county council,” said board member, Brenda Wolff. “They’ve seen new schools go up in other communities, additions, modernization’s, and they’ve waited their turn. I want them to know, that we hear them. “