Governor supports renovation of school officials want to raze

September 15, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

The governor has given his blessing this year, with money likely to follow next year, toward renovating and expanding Elmer Wolfe Elementary School.

There's only one problem: The Carroll school board, in the meantime, decided to replace the school after the building committee and architect said renovation would be unworkable.

It is possible the governor and state officials will sanction the new building as they had the renovation, said Vernon Smith, director of school support services.

On Friday, school officials got the word that Gov. William Donald Schaefer would recommend that the other two members of the state Board of Public Works grant approval for Carroll County to start planning Elmer Wolfe's renovation, with the likelihood of $1.9 million for construction next year.

Mr. Smith said he and other Carroll officials would work with state school officials in late October to iron out the details.

"It does cost a little bit more money to do a replacement school than it does for a renovation," Mr. Smith told the board yesterday. "There's a $1.3 million difference, but we're going to asked the state for most of that."

The schools and county commissioners had made Elmer Wolfe a priority, even if the state did not pay for it, after parents stressed the project's urgency.

The school system originally planned to renovate the Elmer Wolfe building on Green Valley Road, a box-shaped, three-level structure built in 1931 and added to in 1951 and 1969.

The school is not accessible to handicapped people and is crowded. Until this year, its fifth-graders were sent to New Windsor Middle School. Some Elmer Wolfe students meet in the cafeteria or at desks in the stairwell.

The obvious advantages for building a school are more handicap-accessibility in a one-story school and the opportunity to create state-of-the-art classrooms without the constrictions of the old building, said the architect, R. C. Garcia of Frederick Ward Associates and SHW Group.

In addition, the new building could meet current requirements for how far the building must be from the road, Mr. Garcia said. The existing school is very close to the road.

New construction would solve the problem of housing Elmer Wolfe students while the work was being done, Mr. Smith said.

"The children could attend classes in the old building while the new one was being built behind it," Mr. Smith said. "When the students moved into the new building, they could tear down the old one."

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