40 school construction projects anticipated for next year Public to discuss proposals tonight

September 13, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

The public will have its first chance tonight to comment on next year's 40 proposed school construction projects, which have a price tag of $77 million in state and county money.

The hearing, sponsored by the Board of Education, will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the school system's central offices on Riva Road in Annapolis. The school board meets on the first and third Wednesdays each month, but moved this week's meeting because of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah this Wednesday.

Among the items the school board will be considering tonight is a proposal to seek the state's approval to plan a new Meade Area Middle School as well as the state's commitment to give construction money immediately.

Usually, the school system first applies to the state's Inter-Agency Committee, which oversees school construction, for permission to beginarchitectural work on a project and then, in the following year, seeks the state's cash contribution toward the construction costs, which are split between the state and county.

The recommendation to do both in the same year was made by Superintendent C. Berry Carter II before he was ordered on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into whether he properly reported child abuse cases during his term as deputy superintendent.

The total cost of the Meade Area Middle School would be about $19.2 million; the state's share would be about $5.6 million. Work on Park Elementary, another proposed project, would be about $8.8 million; the state's share would be about $1.8 million.

Ronald Beckett, superintendent for support services, said the school system will need a total of about $35 million from the county.

"Some projects are so big, like the Meade Area Middle School, that they almost swallow the whole budget," he said.

The county has a priority list of about 40 construction projects necessary to meet the growing student population, including the purchase of about 100 more relocatable classrooms.

"The kids are coming, and our facilities are continuing to age," Mr. Beckett said. "We've got a construction backlog."

Mr. Carter also recommended seeking the state's permission to begin planning 10 more school construction projects, including a new West County Senior High and renovations to Adams Park Elementary.

His plan also calls for $1 million from the state to help pay for an addition and renovations at Deale Elementary.

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