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School planner says new elementary needed


A new elementary school to ease crowding in North Carroll is on the county wish list, but it may not come true until the turn of the century.

Kathleen Sanner, facilities planner for the Carroll County Public Schools, painted a picture of continued crowding in the area's three elementary schools for the Hampstead Planning and Zoning Commission last night.

The picture won't change until another school opens, she said.

"To have a new school in Manchester in 1998, we have to begin planning next summer," she said. "The numbers are here and the school is needed, but the project was shoved out of fiscal 1995."

Two other elementaries -- one in South Carroll and another in Westminster -- have greater enrollment projections and are ahead of Manchester, said Ms. Sanner.

Ms. Sanner discussed enrollment projections, which have Spring Garden Elementary at 170 students above capacity by the end of next year.

"We are planning to have eight portables with 200 students at Spring Garden by next summer," she said. "All contiguous schools -- Hampstead and Manchester [elementaries] -- are at or over capacity."

The Board of Education could run out of options for placing pupils, she said. Still, a new elementary school in Manchester is "not a top priority."

"We argue every year at the state level for many projects," said Ms. Sanner. "The reality is we are getting one project per year from the state."

Chris Nevin, commission member, said her briefing provided good background on the county process for determining school capacity.

"Overcrowding is not new news," said Mr. Nevin. "Everybody can see what is happening and what will continue to happen into the future."

Mr. Nevin said municipal planners have two options.

"We either slow down growth until our facilities catch up or build new schools in a hurry," he said.

"Without adequate facilities, I am not for residential development."

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