West County just might have a new high school by the fall of 1997, if a panel of school officials has anything to say about it.
Building the school is one of the first recommendations from a panel nicknamed the "Ugly Alternatives Committee" because its mission was to find ways to handle crowding without building new schools.
"As we move toward the end of this century, 11 out of the county's 12 high schools will be overcrowded," said Ronald L. Beckett, assistant superintendent for support services. "One of the things the committee's going to recommend is that we move up the schedule on the new West County high school. Where we'll build it, though, we don't know."
The committee -- formally called the Superintendent's Task Force on Facility Needs -- has looked at everything from redistricting to double sessions to year-round school, and after four months of study is due to present its recommendations to the school board April 7, said Mr. Beckett.
"We formed the committee knowing we would not be able to build enough schools fast enough to meet projected growth," he said.
By the turn of the century, Northeast, Glen Burnie, North County, Old Mill and Arundel senior high schools will have the most serious crowding problems, he said. Building a new West County high school would have "a domino effect" in relieving crowding by pulling 1,500 to 1,600 students out of those five schools, Mr. Beckett said.
The county's 12th high school -- the only one that won't be severely crowded by the year 2000 -- is Severna Park High School, said Carolyn Roeding, president of the County Council of PTAs and a member of the committee.
"Beyond that, we've recommended a modular addition for Severna Park," said Mrs. Roeding. "We really tried to look at the whole spectrum of solutions for all the schools. That's why it was called the Ugly Committee."
Mrs. Roeding said that among the suggestions committee members are scheduled to present to the school board:
* Move the eighth grade at George Fox Middle School to North east High School temporarily until the new area middle school is complete, rather than using relocatable classrooms.
* Consider reopening Adam's Park Elementary School for elementary students, and finding a new location for the Learning Center for students with emotional or behavioral problems, that is now using the site.
* Move ninth-graders at Broadneck Middle School into the high school pending and build an addition to Broadneck Senior High
* Move eighth-graders at Southern Middle School to Southern Senior High School pending construction of a middle school.
* Expand and renovate Deale Elementary.
"The committee is just making recommendations, these aren't official plans. It was my understanding that no one suggestion would be above another, that we'd just present them all to the board with some very general overall recommendations," said Mrs. Roeding.