Emmorton opening pledged for fall

June 26, 1994|By Bruce Reid | Bruce Reid,Sun Staff Writer

Harford County school officials vow to have the new Emmorton Elementary completed in time for school in September.

The 600-pupil school on Wheel Road near Bel Air will relieve severe crowding at nearby Ring Factory Elementary. Ring Factory had nearly 900 students, or about a third more than its designed capacity, during the past school year.

At a special meeting Tuesday, the school board approved spending up to $465,000 to ensure that work at Emmorton Elementary is done by Aug. 24. The 1994-1995 school year begins Sept. 7.

"Emmorton will open on time," said Al Seymour, deputy superintendent of schools. Mr. Seymour said last winter's harsh weather slowed work by the Emmorton contractor, H. A. Harris of Baltimore.

The added money approved by the board will allow the contractor to have crews working longer days, six days a week.

Aside from wishing to relieve crowding at Ring Factory, school officials are trying to avoid delays similar to two last year, when the new Fallston Middle opened two weeks after the school year began and the completion of Church Creek Elementary in Belcamp was delayed for a year because the contractor went bankrupt.

Last year's delays prompted some county officials to complain that contractor selection and oversight were poor, because of artificially low bids and contractors hiring unskilled workers.

Those complaints led to a new school board policy to ensure that contractors are chosen carefully and can meet construction deadlines.

Mr. Seymour said the school board was able to hasten work at Emmorton by using money originally approved for improvements Hall's Cross Roads Elementary in Aberdeen.

He said work at Hall's Cross Roads is on hold because the county still is waiting for money from the state.

"The money was just sitting there," Mr. Seymour said. "It was not going to be used anyway."

Mr. Seymour said the Hall's Cross Roads project, which includes installing air conditioning, new lighting, new ceilings and other improvements, is now scheduled during fiscal 1996, which begins July 1, 1995.

School officials have scheduled a meeting at 7 p.m. July 12 with parents of children who will attend Emmorton Elementary. The meeting is to be held at Ring Factory Elementary, 1400 Emmorton Road.

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