Talks Collapse On Proposed Site For 2 County Schools

Frederick Road Tract Termed Too Expensive

June 30, 1991|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff writer

Negotiations have broken down on a 72-acre Frederick Road site that the county school board hoped to buy for a western middle school and northern elementary school.

The impasse means school officials will have to take a second look at other sites on the list for the middle school and check properties in the area they had not previously considered.

The middle school is scheduled to open in September 1993; the northern elementary school, in September 1994.

School officials are also looking for land for seven other schools: a northeastern elementary, to open in September 1993; western high and elementary schools opening in September 1995; a northeastern middle, a second northeasternelementary school, a third western elementary school and a second high school, all opening in September 1996.

The tract on Frederick Road between Marriottsville and Folly Quarter roads is now on the backburner because owner Andrew J. Harbin's asking price was too high, said Sydney L. Cousin, associate superintendent for finance and operations.

He refused to say how much Harbin wanted for the pasture land.

"We're still interested, but we're not actively working on it,"Cousin said. "We are exploring alternatives."

Cousin said school officials are getting help in locating sites from the county planningdepartment and are also exploring sites with potential for shared acquisition and development with the county Recreation and Parks Department.

"There is no simple wave-a-wand solution," school board ViceChairman Dana F. Hanna said, after one speaker voiced concern about school sites at a board capital budget hearing Thursday.

He said school officials might have to look at county-owned land for possible school sites, although much of the county property is outside the areas where schools are needed.

School sites and a plea for major renovations at Wilde Lake Middle School were on the minds of the two speakers who submitted capital project ideas.

Allan Blondell, newly elected president of the Wilde Lake Middle PTA, asked for major renovations for the 21-year-old building, citing a speaker system that doesn't reach all classrooms, too-small administrative offices, inadequate restrooms and locker rooms.

Rosemary E. S. Mortimer, president of the county PTA council, said the council's executive board was "extremely worried" about finding sites for schools.

Mortimer also expressed concern that the two new high schools could become targets forbudget-cutters, since the projects are very expensive.

The first high school will cost an estimated $32 million; the second, $34 million.

While public hearings on proposed capital budgets each Octobergenerally draw at least 50 speakers, turnout for the annual late June suggestion sessions is traditionally far more sparse.

In June 1990, only one speaker offered ideas for the 1991-1992 capital budget and five-year improvement program.

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