After fire and mold, Glenwood Middle students to be relocated

Lisa Philip
Contact ReporterHoward County Times
After fire and mold, Glenwood Middle students to be relocated

After a fire on Tuesday and ongoing reports of indoor air quality issues at Glenwood Middle School, students there are to be transferred to three other county schools beginning Monday. The school will be closed on Friday, Jan. 8. 

Glenwood Middle's PTSA president, Troy Marty, said the move is going to be a "huge disruption" to the daily routines of students and families, but that he has "the greatest confidence in Mr. Motley (the school's principal), the faculty and staff of Glenwood Middle to make this the least stressful experience possible for our children."  

Beginning Monday, the entire student body -- about 550, according to 2014-15 data -- will report to nearby Bushy Park Elementary School at their regular school start time. From there, seventh-graders will be sent by bus to another elementary school, Dayton Oaks, and eighth-graders will go to Marriotts Ridge High School.

Sixth graders will complete their school day at Bushy Park Elementary, where older students will return at the end of day for dismissal. Glenwood Middle buses will make their regularly-scheduled pickups and dropoffs to take the students to and from Bushy Park.

"These three schools were selected due to their proximity to Glenwood and their classroom space availability," Principal Robert Motley explained in an email to parents on Thursday morning. 

Dayton Oaks Elementary is approximately six miles and an 11-minute drive from Glenwood Middle, according to Google Maps, and Marriotts Ridge High about 9 miles and a 15-minute drive. 

The note that Motley sent to parents initially indicated that the new arrangement would begin on Friday. But parent Vicky Cutroneo said that, after pushback from teachers who said they needed more time to prepare and move their teaching supplies, the start was pushed back to Monday.

Staff reported to the school on Thursday morning but worked from home on Wednesday. 

Students at the Woodbine school have been out of classes since late Tuesday morning when a short in an underground wire outside the building ignited an electrical transformer, causing a fire in the boiler room.

The school was evacuated and fire crews put out the blaze. There were no injuries.

Howard schools communications director John White said that students and staff will return to Glenwood once "fire restoration, maintenance repairs and cleaning are complete."

Since the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services put the fire out and inspected the building on Tuesday afternoon, commercial restoration company PBI Restorations has been working with Glenwood Middle custodial staff to clean the school.

In recent months Glenwood Middle, which opened in 1967, has been at the center of a controversy involving the Howard County school system's handling of mold growth and air quality issues there. Several Glenwood parents have complained that school system officials have not properly communicated or acknowledged the building's issues.

In his letter to parents, Motley said representatives from Building Dynamics — an industrial hygiene firm hired by the system in October to investigate air quality issues — was responding to the fire aftermath as well, inspecting the boiler room and checking for smoke damage above ceiling tiles.

An initial progress report by the company, posted on the school website, indicates areas affected by fire damage include the boiler room, kitchen, gym, boys' locker room and cafeteria, among other areas.

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