Students adjust to remodeled school Lockers, bathrooms are 'main concerns'

November 10, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Outside her first-grade classroom at Sandymount Elementary School, Megan Bollinger opened a locker and whispered her opinion of the renovated building.

"It's great," she said to her father, Stanley Bollinger Jr., of Hook Road in Westminster.

"Stinks just like a new car, huh?" Mr. Bollinger responded with a hearty laugh.

The 502 students had been going to school in portable classrooms in Westminster since September 1991. On the first day in their expanded and remodeled building at 2222 Old Westminster Pike yesterday, their main concerns were stuffing their backpacks into new lockers and finding the restrooms.

The smells of fresh paint, new carpeting, virgin bulletin boards and satiny chalkboards mingled in their subconscious.

Minutes before the first-period bell sounded, some children looked settled already and some looked lost. At least two fourth-graders had trouble telling left from right in their new surroundings.

"I sent them to the bathroom and told them to go to the hall and turn right," said fourth-grade teacher Mary Hall. "They turned to the left and . . . " she imitated the boys' confused looks.

She had been watching them from about 25 feet away, smiling as they fell back on the old standby method for figuring out left from right: They write with their right hands.

"Mrs. Hall, I can't seem to get my book bag in my locker," said another of her students, Edwin Linger of Finksburg.

"Well, we might have to take something out," Mrs. Hall said. "He has the biggest book bag in the world."

Edwin's large bag had come in handy, however. All students, he said, were told to take their books and personal school supplies home on their last day in portable classrooms Oct. 30.

"So we wouldn't lose them," he said, as he pulled out a box of Crayolas and set it on the locker shelf. "Yep, I got a 64-pack."

With his book bag reduced to a locker-compatible width, Edwin reflected on the renovated Sandymount school in Finksburg.

"In the old school, we didn't have quite as much room as we do now," he said. "Except for the lockers."

Angela Schmidt, another fourth-grader, had only a five-minute bus ride to school this morning from her Sandymount home. The ride to the portables in Westminster took 15 to 20 minutes, she said.

The Bollinger children missed the bus -- it was just one of those hectic mornings in a family with three children and two parents who work, Mr. Bollinger said.

"I'm Mr. Mom," he said. He owns a well-digging business and has a more flexible schedule than his wife, he said, so he drove Megan and Stanley III, a second-grader, to school.

After a stop in the office to get a map of the building, the trio walked briskly to Megan and Stanley's classrooms, with Mr. Bollinger navigating.

Katja Newman drove her children to school yesterday. They usually will take the bus from their Finksburg home, but yesterday was special.

"It's a new school and they wanted mom to take them to their rooms," she said.

"It's like the first day of school all over again," said vocal music teacher Norma Brown.

Principal Helen "Anita" Metz, however, started her morning announcements over the public address system with a reminder that some things won't change.

"Remember, the same rules that you lived by in the annex, we live by here," she said. "We don't run in the halls, we take care of our things and school property, and nobody leaves the room without the teacher knowing where you're going."

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