Oklahoma Road school to get second look Carroll must reapply for state OK

April 09, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

State officials are now willing take another look at the county's request to build a new middle school on Oklahoma Road, a Carroll legislator said yesterday.

That could mean the school could be built by 1996 instead of by 1998, said Del. Richard N. Dixon, a Democrat.

But Carroll still will have to apply for the project next year and wait to hear whether the state approves it.

"The main thrust is, we've moved the project onto the front

burner," Mr. Dixon said.

Mr. Dixon engineered a meeting Wednesday between Carroll school officials and Yale Stenzler, director of the state Interagency Committee.

Vernon Smith, director of school support services, said Dr. Stenzler gave him and his staff a list of issues they should address if they want to accelerate state approval of the school.

For example, Carroll administrators will need to explain how they would use empty space at Mount Airy Middle School for expanded special education, Mr. Smith said.

Dr. Stenzler also said Carroll could apply for planning approval and construction money in the same year, 1995, and suggested using the designs for the soon-to-be-built New Windsor Middle School to speed up the Oklahoma Road project, Mr. Smith said.

The Interagency Committee, which recommends building projects to the state Board of Public Works, has repeatedly denied Carroll County's request for planning money for the Oklahoma Road school, which is needed to ease crowding at Sykesville Middle School.

The committee's premise has been that enrollment figures and projections don't justify building a new school for 750 students. But Mr. Smith said growth in Southeast Carroll is "explosive."

This spring, parents banded together to push for action, saying that if the state won't pay for the new school now, the county should build it anyway.

Dr. Stenzler attended a meeting March 30 when about 500 South Carroll parents and students packed the Sykesville Middle School gym to press county and state officials for money to build the Oklahoma Road school.

Nearly 1,000 children in grades six through eight -- 100 above capacity -- attend class in the Sykesville Middle School building that the county calls "severely inadequate."

Parents who attended the March 30 meeting asked the county commissioners to consider using development impact fees to help finance the proposed new school and said they were willing to spend the money to build it.

The Oklahoma Road Middle School would be built on a 20-acre lot north of Liberty Road. In June, the county will repeat its request for the project -- 65 percent of which would be paid for with state funds.

Without a new school, Sykesville Middle's enrollment would reach 1,170 students, 300 over its capacity within four years, according to Kathleen Sanner, a county school facilities official.

Mr. Dixon declined to elaborate on how he arranged the Wednesday meeting. He is a member of the House Capital Budget Committee, which oversees all capital requests.

"[Dr. Stenzler] looks at numbers from all over the state, and he has to have a standard to adhere to," Mr. Dixon said. "I am a delegate who represents Carroll County."

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