This year, schools' wish list is longer than usual


Carroll school officials used to keep the list short when they appealed to the state Board of Public Works. One project, maybe two.

It's longer this year. Six projects, $9.8 million. Carroll school and government representatives will ask the Board of Public Works to approve all of them for 1996 at its monthly meeting Wednesday in Annapolis.

"That's a fairly long list to go in and appeal, but we felt that was the least we could ask for," said Superintendent Brian Lockard. He said he knows he risks alienating the board by asking for so much, but that Carroll needs the space.

"If you go in with an extensive list, they say, 'Thank you, see you later.' So you have to prioritize," he said.

Schools such as Sykesville Middle School are bursting at the seams, and development in Carroll County continues to draw more families.

The projects Dr. Lockard is appealing already were denied or put off by the staff committee that screens projects before they go to the Board of Public Works, which is made up of the governor, treasurer and comptroller. The projects are:

* Construction money for Oklahoma Road Middle School, which could be built by September 1996. Carroll commissioners have agreed to pay for the school with the understanding the state will kick in half of the approximately $12 million cost sooner or later. But the county needs it sooner, said Vernon Smith, director of support services for Carroll County Schools.

This school will alleviate crowding at Sykesville Middle, which has 10 portable classrooms and is about 200 students over capacity.

* Reimbursement for $1.9 million toward the expansion and renovation of Sandymount Elementary School, which the county paid for in advance and reopened in 1991.

* An additional $1.24 million toward Elmer Wolfe Elementary School. The state approved $2.166 million when the project was planned as an expansion and renovation of the school. But the building committee and architect decided later that a new building would be better.

Mr. Smith said he is optimistic that the state will approve the money for Elmer Wolfe, because it had approved the renovation. The biggest obstacle was that the Maryland Historical Trust had questioned razing the building. The state will not approve projects unless the trust does so.

Last week, after several meetings and tours of the school with members of the trust, Mr. Smith received a letter saying the panel would not oppose razing the current building.

* Air conditioning for South Carroll High School, at $546,100.

* Approval to proceed with planning an elementary school in Westminster and another in Manchester, to accommodate expected growth.

Although no money is requested for these projects this year, state approval for planning would put the projects in line for construction money next year.

Carroll schools will be among several districts appealing projects Wednesday.

Carroll delegates Richard N. Dixon and Donald B. Elliott are scheduled to attend the meeting in support of the schools. The group from Carroll will include Dr. Lockard, Mr. Smith and School Board President Ann M. Ballard.

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