School seeks more space for athletics; Garrison Forest requests approval of field house, equestrian center


Striving to offer more athletic and recreational activities for its growing student population, Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills is proposing to build an equestrian center and field house.

The private girls school submitted preliminary plans to Baltimore County officials this week seeking approval of the projects with the hope of starting construction this spring, said G. Peter O'Neill Jr., the school's head.

The equestrian center would provide two additional indoor riding rings, allowing the school to hold three riding classes at a time, O'Neill said. The school has one indoor riding ring.

Riding is an elective available to all Garrison Forest girls. "The program has grown among our younger students," O'Neill said.

Plans for the field house call for an addition to the school's gymnasium that would include two or three basketball courts, a dance studio, locker rooms, a fitness center, offices and conference rooms, O'Neill said.

The school must submit to the county a storm water plan and a master plan describing its campuswide building program before the projects can be approved. O'Neill said that if the projects are given the go ahead, they could be open by fall 2000.

The plans have drawn no community opposition.

Like many of the area's private schools, Garrison Forest is enjoying a growth in student enrollment. In the last four years, the school's population has increased from about 500 to 595 students in nursery school through 12th grade. O'Neill said the number is expected to reach 640 within the next three years.

The cost of the projects has not been determined, school officials said, but the field house and equestrian center are the final two buildings of a $22 million capital campaign that included a lower school, an arts center, a technology program and endowment growth.

"This really does meet our current and foreseeable needs as far as building projects go," O'Neill said.

Pub Date: 1/06/99

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