Chapel Hill Elementary may get addition early; $1.8 million available for eight new classrooms


Responding to rapid growth in the Honeygo development, Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger has accelerated funding for an expansion of the neighborhood's elementary school.

Yesterday, county officials informed the county Planning Board that $1.8 million in general funds is available to construct an eight-classroom addition to Chapel Hill Elementary School. The project, which would give the school an extra 200 seats, would take about 18 months to complete, school officials said.

If the County Council agrees to the appropriation, design of the addition could begin in the summer, although no completion date has been set. Money that was slated in the 2002 budget for the work will be used for repair and maintenance projects, county officials said.

"I think it was very forward thinking," said Ellwood A. Sinsky, a developer and chairman of the planning board's capital budget committee. "It will be a boon for the Honeygo community."

Honeygo, the county's 3,000-acre planned community near White Marsh, is to have 10,000 to 12,000 residents and 4,800 homes when complete. More than 300 homes have been built, and construction has started or is about to begin on more than 200 others, said Ruppersberger spokeswoman Elise Armacost.

"Honeygo is doing very well, and that has changed the enrollment projections for the schools in the area," Armacost said.

Chapel Hill Elementary School, with a capacity for 496 students, had 557 students enrolled in September. The latest figures show enrollment projected to grow to more than 600 by next year and to top 700 by 2005.

"Within the next two years, there will be a significant amount of houses built," Armacost said. "If they waited until 2002, the school would be overcrowded."

Honeygo represents the county's effort to design an upscale community that will attract the kind of young families who for years have been moving to Carroll and Harford counties.

The rate of development is linked to "adequate facilities" such as roads and schools. In addition to finding money for school expansions, the county has aggressively sought parkland for the community.

Pub Date: 2/19/99

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