Until it was closed last week, McDonalds had been a popular lunch spot of B-CC students for many years. With its prime location, McDonalds was the place to be at lunch for any member of the student body. This hot spot will become a vacant lot when the restaurant is demolished to become an office building.
Although McDonalds was convenient for B-CC students to get lunch, what is taking its place may not be that bad once it’s built. The owner has proposed to build a 9-story office building with commercial space on the first floor and parking underneath. There may be a plaza with a water wall as well as other amenities. It is unknown whether a McDonalds is going back in.
McDonalds was not the perfect eating place. However, there were ongoing problems with it. For starters, McDonalds food is not very healthy. Without the McDonalds nearby students may go somewhere else with healthier lunch options. The cafeteria could be a healthier option. The cafeteria manager, Laura Reese said, “we have fruit, vegetables, main meal, milk, and vegetarian food. Obama made a calorie diet for high schools, so our nutrition is controlled by the FDA, (and) so we have very strict rules on what we serve. Having healthier options may help them feel better, their cholesterol will go down, and maybe they will do better in sports and school.”
The McDonalds was also infamous for the lunchtime fights. Cailin Ferris, a B-CC student who never got into a fight, said, “workers don’t really do anything, so it’s easy [to get into fights there]. It also has a large parking lot. It was a hot spot because it was off school, and the workers tell the school about the fights, but don’t do anything to stop them.”
With McDonalds closed, B-CC students may make their new lunch spot the cafeteria. Laura Reese said, “[The closing of McDonalds] would affect us, it would bring us more [kids], but maybe only 75 more kids. I am very pleased [that more kids will be coming to the cafeteria].”
Many B-CC students went to McDonalds for lunch because it was fast and inexpensive, and with it closing down, Mr. Nardi said, “There will be fewer options in proximity and value. You could get a burger, fries and a drink for $3.00 at McDonalds. At A1, they weigh it by the pound, and at Starbucks, it is $3.75 just for a latte.”
Cailin Ferris said, “people will need to go to more expensive places and will need to walk farther. McDonalds was cheap and close.”
Gaby Perez, a B-CC student and McDonalds regular, said, “I will bring my lunch and just go to Elm Street.”
Since the lot is on the way to all the other stores, students who go out for lunch will need to be careful. Once the construction gets started, it will be chaotic at the corner of Pearl and East West Highway. Mr. Nardi says, “using lights are important, there will be construction, they will have to expand, because there is not enough room [for all the trucks] and there will be a lot more congestion.” Students walking, biking or driving around that area need to be smart while construction is going on, because lots of big trucks will be coming in and out and trying to squeeze into narrow Pearl Street.
B-CC student Cailin Ferris said, “a lot of people will be affected by the recent closing of the local McDonalds.” The traffic will affect students and teachers at B-CC but also everyone coming into Bethesda during the day.
As Mr. Orlando sarcastically said, “all the traffic will just be wonderful, with Woodmont and everything.” However, Mr. Orlando offers up a possible solution to all the troubles that this construction entails. “We should all just get hot air balloons and travel by that.”