BALTIMORE — They joked that even the mother of state Superintendent of Schools Joseph L. Shilling wrote a letter about the cramped and small classrooms at New Windsor Middle School.
Although the letter elicited laughter from the Maryland Interagency Committee on School Construction, Carroll school officials who presented it yesterday were quite serious. They are appealing the committee's decision to defer planning recognition -- state acknowledgment that the school is needed -- for the New Windsor project and a new middle school on Oklahoma Road in Eldersburg.
(Shilling's mother attended New Windsor Middle School. Shilling is the brother of Carroll Superintendent R. Edward Shilling.)
School officials said the decision pushes those long-planned projects behind schedule by at least one year. The committee, which did not comment on its decision or Carroll's presentation, is expected to make a decision on the appeal within a couple of weeks.
The committee had alsoshelved plans for two new elementary schools, one in Westminster andone in Sykesville. Carroll's appeal, however, focused on the middle school projects and the transfer of two classroom portables.
"We were somewhat disappointed that not even one of the four projects was recommended for planning," Vernon F. Smith Jr., Carroll's director ofsupport services, said during the meeting at the Maryland Departmentof Education.
"Rather than playing catch-up, as has been the casein Carroll
over the past few years, the construction of this new middle school will allow room for growth," Smith said, outlining the case for the proposed Oklahoma Road project.
That school, slated to open in fall 1994, would alleviate overcrowding at Sykesville and Mount Airy Middle schools. In addition, the project would realign the middle schools which feed students to Liberty High. Because of overcrowding, some Eldersburg Elementary pupils transfer to Mount Airy MiddleSchool, outside the feeder system, instead of to Sykesville Middle.
Despite proper upkeep and maintenance, school officials said New Windsor Middle, built in 1936 and expanded several times, is the most obsolete school facility in Carroll County.
Smith noted, for example, that the cafeteria serves as a weight
room, classroom and food service area for the school's 450 students. He said there is no space within the building for instrumental music. Classes and band are conducted in a portable classroom that was placed in the 1950s.
Lester P. Surber, Carroll's supervisor of school facilities-planning, said the concept of a new middle school in that area has been endorsed by New Windsor and county officials. He said Carroll school officials areconsidering a site for the school.
"It is in our best interest, we believe, to move now. We have a good piece of property available," Surber said.
Lastly, school officials asked the committee to reconsider their request to relocate two state-owned portable units at Manchester Elementary to Winfield Elementary, where the additionalspace will be needed to accommodate students during a planned renovation and addition, scheduled to be under way this year.
School officials said the state-owned units no longer will be needed at Manchester when the new Spring Garden Elementary opens this fall.