Essex School and its principal somewhat floored by attention

March 18, 1992|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer aTB

Complaints by parents and teachers about the poor condition of the 67-year old Essex Elementary School have produced some quick results -- a visit from the county executive and an offer of free flooring.

About 40 people from the Essex school community attended County Executive Roger B. Hayden's first public budget hearing Monday night to complain about the county's neglect of the school building and its inaction in repairing it.

Principal Jean Satterfield, faculty members and parents complained of crumbling floors, walls and ceilings; peeling paint; unbearable urine smells from the 1925 vintage bathrooms; and uncontrollable boilers that make some parts of the building very hot and others very cold.

Mr. Hayden promised them he would visit the school. And he did -- the next morning.

The school's supporters want Mr. Hayden to reject the advice of the county Planning Board, and allow voters to approve $50,000 for a study to determine what should be done with the Essex school, and $300,000 to plan either its rebuilding or replacement.

Mr. Hayden has not yet made a decision on whether to restore the money. But, on his visit "he saw all the things we wanted him to see," said Ms. Satterfield. And she added that Mr. Hayden said the school's supporters have "made their point."

Ms. Satterfield said she was doubly pleased yesterday because, just before the county executive arrived, representatives from Gibson-Homans in Rosedale, an adhesives manufacturing company, stopped by to offer new flooring for one or two classrooms.

The material would be provided free as a way of demonstrating a product that is poured over crumbling asbestos tile to form a new floor.

Ms. Satterfield said she referred the offer to the school system's physical facilities administrator, who is to make the final decision on whether to accept it.

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