Call it a sign of the times.
Baltimore County has a spanking new elementary school that opened yesterday in the Perry Hall area -- and it's already overcrowded.
Joppa View Elementary, which was built to relieve overcrowding at nearby schools, opened yesterday with 555 children in a building designed for 506, said James E. Kraft, manager for the school's planning department.
That's hardly surprising since Joppa View, located in the 8700 block of Honeygo Boulevard, is in a middle-class neighborhood of young, growing families. In fact, new homes are going up right across the street.
Still, school administrators are delighted that Joppa View is up and running.
"We are certainly excited about it," Mr. Kraft said.
Principal Mary Jacque Brauer, excited and worried about the opening, was up nearly four hours before the school doors opened yesterday at 9:15 a.m. As it turned out, she had no reason to fret.
"It went like clockwork," she said, weary with relief and from giving tours of the new school throughout the day.
Excitement over a new school opening is understandable. Baltimore County, as is the case in many other counties, is experiencing rapid growth in its school population.
There are 86,847 students registered in county public schools for the 1990-1991 school year, 2,744 more than last year. Of the 93 elementary schools in the county, 39 are over crowded.
The projection for the 1991-1992 school year is for another 4,000 students. Another new school, Seven Oaks Elementary, is scheduled to open in September 1991 in the Perry Hall area and is intended to relieve overcrowding at the nearby Carney and Gunpowder elementary schools.
To help matters, the County Council voted in August to ban construction of housing projects in communities where schools are severely overcrowded. The ban, which went into effect Monday, is a temporary one that will last for 15 months.
Students who began at Joppa View yesterday have been attending Fullerton, Perry Hall or Pine Grove elementaries since the first day of school this fall. They had been excused from attending any of those schools since last Wednesday to prepare for their pending move.
It meant the school year got off to a rocky start for some parents, said Karen Spampinato, who has two daughters at Joppa View.
"It was confusing for the parents who had kids in different schools," said Mrs. Spampinato, who described her daughters as being "so excited and pumped" about going to Joppa View.
The opening of the new school relieved overcrowding at both Perry Hall and Fullerton -- although not by much, administrators said.
Fullerton has a capacity for 568 students and an enrollment this year of 460. The capacity at Perry Hall is for 602 students; the enrollment, as of yesterday, was 597.
However, administrators said the enrollment picture at Perry Hall is vastly improved. Until Joppa View opened, the school had 300 more students than it was built to hold, with six portable classrooms and a kindergarten that was annexed to Pine Grove Middle School.
Joppa View is the first new elementary school to open in the county since 1981, when Oliver Beach Elementary opened near Chase.
The county purchased the site for the new building in 1968 and received state and county funding in fiscal year 1989. It took $4.6 million from the state and $1.8 million from the county to build and equip the new school.
Joppa View has 21 regular classrooms, three of which are to be used for special education and two for kindergarten classes. In addition, there is an instrumental music room and a vocal music room.