State helps buy air conditioning for Jewish school Beltway noise has intruded for 25 years

December 21, 1992|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

From its perch on a hill above the Baltimore Beltway at Old Court Road, Talmudical Academy endured the noise of cars whizzing past its open classroom windows on warm days for 25 years.

But the sometimes-deafening roar will no longer intrude on classroom activities, thanks to a new air-conditioning system that the state government will help pay for.

The private parochial school has received a promise that the state will pay $75,000 of the $160,000 bill to air condition the buildings.

The Baltimore County Council is expected to approve at its meeting tonight the local government's $10,000 portion of the bill -- money actually provided by a private, anonymous donor that is being passed through the council.

The air conditioning, for which the school paid the remaining $75,000, was installed last year as part of a one-story addition to Talmudical Academy's elementary school building.

The 75-year-old school for Orthodox Jewish boys has more than 650 students, from kindergarten through 12th grade, and is located on a 10-acre campus in the 4400 block of Old Court Road.

Charles B. Adams, environmental director of the State Highway Administration, said the Talmudical Academy qualifies for help in dampening Beltway noise because the highway has been expanded several times since the school opened its Old Court Road campus 25 years ago.

The addition of the Northwest Expressway in 1986 brought even more traffic and noise. A roadside noise barrier for the school would have been too costly, Mr. Adams said. Air conditioning was suggested as a cheap alternative.

The state share comes from the highway administration's environmental fund.

"It is a unique situation," Mr. Adams said.

In October, the federal government agreed to contribute 80 percent of the $26 million needed to provide noise barriers along six portions of the Beltway in Baltimore County during the next six years. The county agreed to pay about $3 million for the work.

But none of the six locations is near Talmudical Academy.

The state funds also will help ease a money crunch at Talmudical Academy, one of several Jewish day schools in Baltimore that have had to raise tuition this year.

The school's facilities cost $2 million in 1966-1967 and consisted of a two-story administration building, a 33-room dormitory, a three-story grade school and a three-story high school.

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