Public to hear about plans for new Fallston elementary school Monday

The public will have an opportunity Monday evening to look at and comment on a preliminary site plan for the new Youth's Benefit Elementary School to be built on the site of the existing school property in Fallston.

The community input meeting on the Youth's Benefit plan is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the school, 1901 Fallston Road.

The Fallston community has been eagerly anticipating this project, the need for which has been discussed for more than a decade.

Youth's Benefit, which opened in the early 1950s, is serving about 960 students this school year, the most of any of the county's 34 elementary schools.

Harford County Public Schools plans to build a 149,000-square-foot building to replace the existing two buildings, the oldest of which dates to 1953.

The total estimated cost of the project — which includes engineering, construction, furnishings and demolition of the old buildings — is $44.8 million, Cornell Brown, Harford County Public Schools assistant superintendent of operations, said Thursday.

"We hope to bid the project this summer and award it," Brown said. Construction would begin by fall, with the projected completion of the project in August 2017.

The plan calls for the new building to be built in three phases, Brown said. Students will continue to attend classes at Youth's Benefit while construction is in progress, and the new school will be built around them.

"They'll build a wing of new classrooms first, which the students will begin using while part of the old building is torn down; then they'll build more and the other part will be torn down."

According to the site plan developed by Site Resources Inc. of Phoenix, in Baltimore County, the new school will have two levels with a large auditorium in the middle of the upper level.

There will be additional parking on the site, 191 spaces in all, and playfields will be relocated to the back side of the property adjacent to the Fallston Recreation Complex.

Parking will be constructed over the existing playfield on the south side of the property along Route 152, while stormwater management ponds and structures will occupy the area of the existing ballfield on the north side of the site.

Public water and sewer are not available in that area of Fallston, so the new school will continue to rely on a well for its water and an onsite septic system for waste disposal.

The project will be built with state and county funds, the latter which will be raised by a future bond sale, County Treasurer Kathryn Hewitt said Thursday.

Community input meetings give members of the public an opportunity to see the plans and to raise any concerns to the designers and, in this case, school officials.

The site plan can be reviewed on the Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning website at

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