Long-delayed new Runnymede school is scheduled to open doors next week

March 08, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

The first day of school will return for Runnymede Elementary students when they move into their new building next Tuesday.

An open house will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the school, 3000 Langdon Drive, off Route 140 between Westminster and Taneytown.

To help teachers finish moving and unpacking, school will close for students Thursday, Friday and Monday, the day of the open house.

Many classrooms are set up with desks and decorated bulletin boards, said Principal Barbara Walker.

"If you walk through it, it looks like a school," she said.

"The music teacher is ready to go. She could walk in that room now and teach."

Notices went home to parents yesterday announcing the move-in date. But at least one parent is cautiously optimistic, after all the false starts in the past.

"If they're finally going to open, great, but I don't get excited until it happens," said Andrea Gill of Taney Court. Ms. Gill's child and four of her day care charges attend Runnymede.

A creek could rise, or it could snow, she pointed out. Anything could happen.

In the past, many things did.

The latest problem was subzero temperatures in January, which damaged the wastewater treatment plant at the school a few weeks before students and staff were to move in Feb. 3.

Parents, students and staff have been anxiously waiting for the go-ahead from state and county inspectors, who needed to approve the wastewater plant.

Just before 5 p.m. Friday, the county issued a temporary permit for the building, said Vernon Smith, director of support services for Carroll County schools.

He said the county still has a few minor concerns, such as grading around the wastewater tanks, but those will be addressed as the contractor and school system can get to them.

"We're anxious, and it will be a really exciting day Monday," Mr. Smith said, when students and parents see the school for the first time.

"It's just a beautiful building," he said.

Runnymede students have been attending Taneytown Elementary School since September. Their new school was originally set to open in September, then January, then February -- each time the opening was delayed by bad weather.

The blizzard of March 1993 and a rainy spring and summer caused the first delay from September to January.

More rain around Thanksgiving caused another month's delay, and the wastewater treatment plant freeze added six weeks.

Runnymede students include children who last year went to the now-closed Uniontown Elementary School and some who went to Taneytown.

Taneytown Elementary students are attending classes in rooms and portable classrooms next door at Northwest Middle School. Taneytown students will stay there while their school is renovated and expanded over the next year.

Although the "Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack" is predicting snow this weekend, Runnymede Assistant Principal Jim Bullock doesn't want to hear about it.

"We've had it with snow. We're going anyway," he said. "I don't know about the kids, but the teachers are ready."

He said the children were excited yesterday and abuzz with questions about the new building.

"I think the kids handled it [the waiting] better than anyone," Mr. Bullock said.

"Better than the parents and better than the staff. They're very resilient."

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