School renovation problems solved WEST COUNTY -- Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

August 27, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Problems that delayed a volunteer project to renovate Jessup Elementary School have been solved, but now the work won't start until next summer, school officials said yesterday.

An agreement outlining the responsibilities of school administrators and parent volunteers was worked out Monday, said Michael Raible, the director of planning and construction for the school system.

That meeting followed weeks of acrimony between school officials and parents, who had hoped the construction project, considered the most ambitious volunteer effort ever for county schools, would be completed by the time students

return to school Wednesday. Plans call for replacing the partitions that divide an open classroom with walls and building a computer lab.

Mr. Raible said school employees will handle most of the technical aspects of the work, including completing a water main project, removing asbestos tiles and installing a sprinkler system.

Volunteers will erect walls, adjust the lighting system, wire the computer lab, lay carpet and paint.

School officials said they will install the sprinklers and remove the asbestos tiles by June 1, 1994. The volunteers will move in on June 16 and end their work in mid-August.

The project will cost the school system $250,000 -- but Mr. Raible said the volunteer help will save taxpayers $250,000.

That's still a tremendous bargain," he said. "You see sales all the time for 50 cents on the dollar and people snap them up in a hurry. . . . This is still the biggest project ever undertaken by a volunteer group in Anne Arundel schools."

But one of the volunteer leaders, Steve Kendall, said yesterday that the delays and haggling may cause him to pull out of the project. "I'm a little disgusted," he said.

He said the delays were caused by too many bureaucrats and too much red tape. For example, he said he was told by one school official that classrooms needed to have only two electrical outlets.

Based on that, he said a volunteer architect drew plans, only to have them rejected by the school board because classrooms need two outlets per wall.

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