Parents make Park Elementary safer place to learn

April 11, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

This is one time Park Elementary principal Diane Lenzi didn't have to beg, ask or demand to get something for her Brooklyn Park school. This time, Mrs. Lenzi said, parents led the way.

The 51-year-old school is scheduled for replacement, but in the meantime students and faculty have been living with some inhospitable conditions: radiators without covers; threadbare carpet in one kindergarten class; a boys' bathroom in need of new urinals and floor tile.

Donna Schramek, chairwoman of the Park Elementary Citizens Advisory Council, had hot water from a radiator splash on her as she was reading to a class.

"I scooted the children away," she said. "It was very hot. I didn't get injured, and none of the children were hurt."

Community frustration grew the past several years as the school board debated when to build Park Elementary's replacement.

"Parents want to get things fixed," said Mrs. Schramek, a parent of two Park Elementary students, Randy 11, and Lauren, 10.

Unhappy parents' steady pleas for help were answered when the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce and its education committee stepped in.

The business group adopted the school and offered its help free of charge.

"It is budgeted to have a new school built," said Pamela Kaizar, the chamber's executive director. "But in the meantime, there are physical things that need to be taken care of. And the money is just not there in the school budget to renovate a building that's going to be empty in two years."

Groundbreaking for the new school, to be located behind the old school, is scheduled for September.

Construction will take about 15 months to finish, Mrs. Lenzi said.

The legwork to make the improvements has already started.

School Superintendent Carol S. Parham toured the school last month to review its needs.

Shirley Murphy, a partner in AllState Alarm Systems of Glen Burnie and a member of the chamber, said the conditions spurred her to action.

Workers at her company will make 10 radiator covers, at a cost of about $2,000 each. The covers will keep youngsters and teachers safe from burns and bruises, the principal said.

The new carpeting will make it more comfortable for the kindergartners, who sit on the floor for some of their lessons, said Mrs. Lenzi.

"These folks are very interested, very kind and understanding," Mrs. Lenzi said. "And they most certainly are doing what they said they were going to do."

Members of the business group understand that their improvements will be short-lived. "We're not trying to make it pretty. We're just trying to keep it functional until the new school gets built," said Ms. Kaizar.

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