Principal Christine Warner said that on top of longer construction time and higher cost, keeping the school open would create logistical problems, including a lack of recess space, changes to arrival and dismissal time and environmental hazards that come with a full-scale construction project.

Several parents, including Keri Frisch, worried about the options' safety.

"I'm confident the county will take all of the necessary precautions (to keep the students safe)," Frisch said, "but once you start tearing up an 80-year-old school building, who knows what you're going to find."

"I don't feel they can adequately provide an answer because I don't think there is an answer," Frisch said.

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Warner called the second option a "180-day field trip" to the Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, which she said would allow for the project to be completed in a 15-month window. Carver will be vacant because the new Carver Center, being built next door, will open next September.

If the principal had her choice, she said that it would be an easy one.

"If the decision were mine and mine alone, I like field trips," Warner said. "I would take our boys and girls on a remarkable field trip, and I'd do it well."

Several parents spoke in support of the option to move.

"I'm strongly in favor of the move to Carver for a year," said Frisch, who said Carver was the best option in terms of the students' safety and education.

Leigh Weihs, who attended the meeting with her husband, Tim, said that Carver was a "wonderful option" that the school is fortunate to have.

Many of the local legislators who have supported the addition from the start were in attendance at the meeting Tuesday, including state Sen. Jim Brochin, Del. Steve Lafferty, and County Councilman David Marks.

Last week legislators penned a letter to state education officials supporting $6.2 million for the Stoneleigh addition and renovation.

Marks said "nothing is more important in southeastern Towson than the addition at Stoneleigh Elementary School," and said he thinks the option of accelerating construction and moving is the better one.

Ultimately, though, the decision will be left at the feet of the parents. Warner will host Stoneleigh parents for a tour of Carver on Oct. 10, and surveys that indicate each family's preference due by Oct. 12.

te each family's preference due by Oct. 12.