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Glenelg Country School seeks expanded campus

The Glenelg Country School, a prekindergarten through high school private school on a sprawling 90-acre campus in Ellicott City, is seeking the county's permission to add multiple buildings on its campus over the next 20 years.

Student enrollment has swelled since the school opened its doors in 1954 when founders Kingdon and Mary Gould fulfilled a need for an independent school in Howard County. More than 750 students are enrolled at the school, which has six sports, an outdoor amphitheater and an observatory.

The school's infrastructure has expanded steadily over the last 40 years, with the addition of a new gym in 1979, a pool in 1983, a school for older students in 1985 and a primary school 2002, among other expansions.

Greg Ventre, Glenelg's head of school, said the expansion was necessary to improve the campus environment and enrich the school's current programming. The expansion would increase enrollment to 958 students.

"This directly aligns with our vision to offer programs that encourage intellectual curiosity, compassion for others and a strong ethical core, helping students excel academically, in their community and beyond. We actively seek to continue to provide these programs in the safest and most supportive environment," Ventre wrote in a statement.

The first two-year phase of the project, which is expected to cost $700,000, includes the addition of two waste water treatment building, a 26-space parking lot, an expanded maintenance building and the addition of two storage buildings.

Over the next 10 years, the campus would expand the building for the Lower School, which includes students between first and fifth grade, and the Upper School, which includes students between ninth and 12th grade, by adding portables. The phase also includes a three-story addition on the building for the oldest students for science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM, programs and other academic programs, Ventre said.

In response to concerns raised in a technical staff report by the county's Department of Planning and Zoning, the school reoriented a portable classroom in the lower school to better preserve the Glenelg Manor, a historic building remodeled in the mid-1800s to resemble a Scottish castle.

The third phase, which is expected to be completed over the next 20 years, will include major additions like a new performing arts center, two parking lots with more than 40 spaces and a new two-story preschool building.

The school's request for a conditional use from the county drew concern from nearby residents at public hearings before the county's hearing examiner that continued Monday night. The hearing was the fourth so far as the county's hearing examiner weighs her decision following other public sessions.

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