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Catonsville Elementary School gets revamped parking lot, drop-off area

Even before Linda Miller took the reins as principal of Catonsville Elementary School more than five years ago, parents and teachers had concerns about potholes scarring the drop-off area and parking lot of the school, she said.

Those concerns will be gone for this coming year as construction crews repaved the back parking lot and the loop where buses park in the mornings and afternoons.

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The $605,000 project also added about 30 parking spaces and installed curbs and ramps on the sidewalks.

"It's beautiful. I definitely think it's safer for staff and students," Miller said. "It gives (the school) a cleaner look."

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PTA president Ed Doll agrees.

In addition to safety concerns, Doll said construction eliminated drainage issues and losse rubble that littered the area.

"I think we'll have a lot of happy parents," Doll said. "Everything's clean. It's smooth. It's great."

Doll is one of those happy parents.

His daughter, Claire, will enter fourth grade at the school at 615 Frederick Road this year.

His older daughter, Maragaret; won't get to experience the changes because she graduated in June and will enter Arbutus Middle School, 5525 Shelbourne Road.

In addition to the hazards, Doll said additional parking spaces are a welcome addition because parking had been at a premium for school events.

"It'll definitely ease some issues," said Doll, noting the additional parking spaces came from the elimination of an overgrown garden.

Moreover, Doll said the PTA has an environmental committee that will look to spruce up the grounds.

Perhaps as frustrating as the hazards and the lack of parking for Doll and other parents was the feeling that the project would never be completed.

In April, Doll wrote an email to Baltimore County Public Schools administrators and local politicians about the apparent evaporation of project funding.

"We have learned that the funds allocated for the parking lot are no longer available," Doll wrote. "(This project) was approved by the school board two years ago, but was unable to be replaced due to problems obtaining permits."

Another delay, Doll wrote, would mean a year wait because the project was too massive to do during the school year.

In May, the Board of Education approved the project.

Despite the headaches, Doll is pleased with what has been done.

"It's definitely well worth the wait," he said. "If you knew what it looked like then, and what it looks like now, it's 110-percent improvement."

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