2 elementary schools given higher priority on renovations list School board modifies staff's 10-year plan


Two aging elementary schools moved up on the priority list in a long-range building plan approved last night by the Carroll County Board of Education.

The board voted unanimously to include modernizations of William Winchester Elementary in Westminster and Freedom Elementary in Sykesville in the Facilities Master Plan, a 10-year schedule for school construction and renovation that is reviewed annually.

School planning staff had included both buildings in the "future" category with no definite date listed for renovations.

Board President C. Scott Stone also suggested that education BTC officials take a close look at Charles Carroll Elementary School to consider its future. The 70-year-old school is the county's oldest.

"Charles Carroll has many serious problems, and I'd like to put out the idea that we direct the superintendent to explore replacing it, or having it absorbed by other existing or new facilities," Stone said.

The Facilities Master Plan for 1998-2007 includes two new projects in fast-growing South Carroll area -- a middle school and a career and technology center, both due for construction in 2005.

The plan also outlines design, construction and renovation schedules for other projects, including Cranberry Station Elementary in Westminster, a Hampstead middle school and two new high schools, one in the southeast and one in Westminster.

Board member Carolyn Scott called attention to the condition of Winchester Elementary and questioned the rating of the facility as "good."

"I find it hard to believe you could call William Winchester good in condition when it's 40 years old, the air quality is bad and it has mice," Scott told Vernon Smith, director of school support services. "I'd really like to see William Winchester on the calendar."

Stone agreed and suggested that the board also put Freedom Elementary on the building master plan. Freedom is 43 years old and, like William Winchester, has no air conditioning and limited cafeteria and gym space.

The board voted to put both projects on the master plan for construction work in September 2006.

"They've been sitting at the bottom of the list for quite some time now, and I think we're going to ask you to move them out of the future category," Stone said.

Board member Ann Ballard criticized school planning staff for delaying the new auditorium and fine arts center at South Carroll High School for two years, according to the master plan. The project is scheduled for construction in 2002.

"That auditorium should have been replaced 10 years ago," Ballard said. "The school has 1,600 students, and 400 fit in the auditorium."

In addition, the auditorium is not accessible to disabled individuals, she said.

The master plan delays renovation of North Carroll Middle School by a year until 2002.

"The placement on the schedule is directly related to the [County] Commissioners' willingness to fund the project in the six-year capital improvement program," said Smith.

Pub Date: 6/11/98

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