New elementary school for Riverside on fast track

September 06, 1992|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

The Harford school system has put plans for a new elementary school in Riverside on the fast track and wants to have the building built in record time.

In the past it has taken at least 14 months to build an elementary school but school officials, including county school Superintendent Ray R. Keech, have vowed to build, furnish and open the 59,000-square-foot school in time for September 1993.

Construction of the 600-pupil school, at Church Creek Road and Riverside Parkway in Belcamp, was delayed a few months ago pending a third test for chemical contaminants at the site. The delays infuriated residents who said the first two tests proved the site, donated by Belcamp-based BLC Properties Inc., the Riverside developer.

Bonner Smith, president of the Riverside Community Association, said he was pleased that construction was about to start, adding that "it has been a long battle." He said the community would continue to stay abreast of the school's progress to make sure that it is built as quickly as possible.

At a special meeting of the school board Monday, the $5.2 million contract was awarded to Peter J. Scarpulla Inc. of Baltimore.

The contract calls for the building to be finished by Aug. 1, 1993, according to Albert F. Seymour, executive director of information and publications for Harford County public schools. He said the contract includes a penalty of $1,500 a day if the project is late. This is the standard penalty in construction contracts, he said.

The board will pay $213,857 to Construction Dynamics Group, a Rockville building management service, to supervise construction of the school.

The second environmental test at the site revealed trace amounts of toluene vapor, an industrial solvent and gasoline additive that can harm the liver, kidneys and respiratory system if ingested or inhaled.

County and school officials were so alarmed by the toluene, which appeared in amounts well below federal guidelines, that they ordered construction of the school delayed until an additional test could be conducted. Results of this third test, which took soil samples at a depth of up to 25 feet, also confirmed small amounts of chemicals -- but not enough to pose a danger.

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