However, Project Open Space laws protect the land, and the Save Mays Chapel Park Committee, made up of school opponents, has filed a lawsuit claiming the council skirted real estate regulations in making the swap. Committee co-chair Whistler Burch said no other parties have responded to the suit.

Despite the groundbreaking, opponents still believe they can stop the school.

"This is meant to intimidate us, make no mistake," Gail Purnell, a resident of the nearby condominiums, said.

The Mays Chapel school will open for the 2014-2015 school year, according to BCPS officials.

The protester's outbursts cast a shadow on the day for others in attendance: the parents and children from Pinewood and Pot Spring, and school officials who put their time into the project.

Emma Whatley, a third-grader at Pot Spring, was one of the students invited to lead the Pledge of Allegiance and join school officials for the groundbreaking. As Kamenetz and the opponents shouted back and forth, her mother, Melissa, held her daughter close at her side.

"It was a little unsettling to hear all of the grown-ups yelling," Melissa Whatley, 44, said. "It's disappointing that the kids had to see that."

For Whatley, who grew up in Mays Chapel, the school has been inevitable for most of her life.

"In our family, we have a joke that my younger sister was supposed to go to this school because it's been on the books for that long," she said. "Everything else came afterward."

BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance kept the focus on the children, whom he said are sometimes forced to learn in less-than-ideal conditions.

"Our community is a family," Dance said. "Just like all families, sometimes you agree to disagree, but one thing that we have to always keep in mind is that the future of this country rests with the young men and young women right in front of me."