Windmill Point Middle School may be reopened Enrollment on rise at George Fox

November 29, 1992|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Anne Arundel school officials may pull the former Windmill Point Middle School at the Chesapeake complex out of mothballs to alleviate overcrowding at other Northeast county schools.

Windmill Point opened in 1976 next to Chesapeake Bay Middle School -- then known as Bayview Middle -- on Mountain Road. The school closed in 1981 as enrollments declined.

Now enrollments in the Northeast High School feeder system are climbing again, particularly at George Fox Middle School. Officials predict George Fox will have 400 more students than it was designed to accommodate by 1996 unless some changes are made.

Michael Raible, county director of school planning and construction, said administrators are weighing whether they should redirect Riviera Beach Elementary students, who now feed George Fox, to a resurrected Windmill Point Middle School.

Under the proposal, Riviera Beach students would join others from Jacobsville and Fort Smallwood elementary schools -- which now feed Chesapeake Bay Middle -- in the new middle school. Students from Bodkin, Pasadena and Lake Shore elementaries would continue at Chesapeake Bay Middle.

George Fox would continue to take students from High Point, Sunset and Solley elementary schools.

The plan has drawbacks, Mr. Raible said. Chiefly, classmates at the new middle school may be split up as they pass to high school. Because Chesapeake Bay High School is projected to have capacity problems of its own, some of those middle school students may be sent to Northeast High, he said.

Splitting up the students would run counter to school board policy, Mr. Raible said. Ordinarily, classmates sharing common experiences and friendships would go to the same high school, he said.

Carolyn Roeding, president of the countywide Parent-Teachers

Association, said if the county transfers the Riviera Beach students to the Chesapeake High feeder system, "They should keep them there. It's not fair to the students to send them back."

"It's certainly not an elegant solution," Mr. Raible said.

"The question is, do you use the seats you have or not?" Other alternatives to solve overcrowding at George Fox include use of portable classroom buildings, split sessions and a pilot program that would keep the school open year-round, Mr. Raible said. These alternatives have not yet been considered, he said.

Mr. Raible will meet with Riviera Beach parents to explain the proposal at 7 p.m. tomorrow. The meeting will be at Riviera Beach Elementary, 8515 Jenkins Road.

He met Nov. 16 at Northeast High School with the parent-teacher associations and community advisory committees from the affected schools.

School Superintendent C. Barry Carter will make a recommendation to the Board of Education Wednesday.

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