School sites approved in Ellicott City One case involves land exchange

November 12, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

The Howard County school board last night tentatively approved new elementary schools for Ellicott City. One of the schools would be built on land the county plans to acquire in a swap with a private owner.

The board approved building a new school -- set to open for the 1996 academic year -- off Ilchester Road northeast of Talbots Landing on land near the private Trinity School.

Board members voiced concern about losing trees on the land where the school would be built, but school planners said the site was the only one available. The planners also said they will work with environmentalists to conserve as many trees as possible.

"We've been looking for a couple of years, and this is what we came up with," said Bill Grau, site planner.

To build the other school in Ellicott City, the board tentatively approved swapping 10 acres of county-owned land for an adjacent 10-acre parcel of privately owned land near Old Frederick Road and Route 99. The school would open for the 1997 academic year and would relieve overcrowding at St. John's Lane Elementary School.

The landowner will donate an additional 5 acres for the school.

"I am delighted at this," board member Deborah Kendig said. "The Stirn [county-owned] property was the worse site [possible] for the school."

If a school were built on the county-owned property, bus drivers would have had to use a winding road that would hamper their ability to see traffic.

Also last night, the board heard a recommendation to expand a gifted and talented pilot program to Wilde Lake High School for the 1994-95 academic year and to all high schools by the 1997-98 academic year. The program would allow students to be paired with mentors and to do independent research projects.

The pilot program is being tried at Mount Hebron and Hammond high schools, and students praised it at the board meeting.

Hammond senior Brandi Dickman said that the program exposed her to the field of child psychology and helped her decide it wasn't for her. "I saved a lot of time in college, and I saved my parents a lot of money," she said.

Mount Hebron senior Andrew Farrell said he was able to jump-start his career as a musician by being paired with a professional clarinetist from Washington, D.C.

"It's been a great opportunity for me to have the time I need to study the clarinet in high school," he said. "For students . . . the mentorship and the independent research programs give them the opportunity to explore whether they want to do this in college."

Some students are researching such topics as "Mathematical Analysis at the Department of Defense," "Academics and African-American Males" and "The Physics of Projectile Motion."

Coordinator Robert Glascock said that if the program is expanded to Wilde Lake, a gifted-and-talented resource teacher would be hired at $40,600 a year, and $10,000 would be allocated for supplies.

With that help, he said, expanding the program to Wilde Lake would not burden staff when the school is temporarily relocated for more than $20 million in renovations.

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