Parents, staff laud revised plan for Mount Hebron renovation

The Baltimore Sun

A revised plan for renovation of Mount Hebron High School that school officials plan to present next month "is a step in the right direction" according to the leaders of a group of parents and staff at the school who have opposed previous construction drafts.

The new plan calls for adding five to 10 classrooms and increasing the size of hallways and the cafeteria.

A schematic design will be brought to the school board for approval April 10, said Ken Roey, executive director of facilities and management for the school system. A construction award should be ready for approval by Spring 2009, Roey said.

The new plan will cost $57 million, which is $3 million more than a plan Roey presented to the board in February.

The school board has requested $27 million for the project in the 2009 capital budget. Any increases would be addressed in future budgets, Roey said.

Under the revised plan, the school would expand by 60,000 square feet, an increase of 5,000 feet compared with the previous draft, Roey said. The updated plan calls for most hallways in the school to be expanded to at least 10 feet wide. The cafeteria would grow by 523 square feet from its current size of 9,195 square feet.

"It's not tremendously different from what you've seen in the past," Roey said.

Roey said the revised plan was presented earlier this month to the planning and advisory committee, a group of school officials, parents, students and teachers.

Cindy Ardinger, a member of the planning committee and head of the Help Mount Hebron Committee, called the plan "a step in the right direction."

"It moves toward solving more of the deficiencies of Mount Hebron," she said.

School board member Sandra H. French said she was pleased to hear of the progress from Ardinger and Raymond Brown, the system's chief operating officer.

"The prospects are positive," French said. "I am very encouraged about that. I would like to see things get started. I would like to see improvements done to our older schools."

Still, some parents and teachers are not satisfied by the latest plan, Ardinger said.

"They are concerned about the disruption [caused by the construction] and concerned about some areas that would remain un-addressed," she said.

But French said, "Even Santa Claus doesn't bring everything on a child's wish list. We just do the best we can."

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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