Glenelg Country School plans to expand its stage New building will feature 10 classrooms, including two for fine arts classes

November 02, 1995|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,SUN STAFF

All the world's a stage, according to Shakespeare, but Glenelg Country School's world has gotten a little cramped for both theatrics and education.

So the 41-year-old college preparatory school -- off Folly Quarter Road at Maryvale Court -- is seeking county approval of plans for a new building that will include a 350-seat performing arts center and a new middle school.

The private school must rent space at such places as Slayton House in Columbia's Wilde Lake village as a venue for the major play it puts on each year, said Henry C. Miller, chairman of the school's campaign to raise funds to build the new facility. It holds other performances in its high school drama classroom, which seats only 100.

Middle school classes are held in the school's 19th-century manor house, which gave the Glenelg area its name. Plans call for those classrooms to be used for elementary school classes once the new building is completed in the next two to three years.

The building is still being designed, but school officials expect it to have about 10 classrooms and about 30,000 square feet of floor space -- enough for about 150 students. Two rooms will house fine arts classes.

Founded in 1954 with 35 students, the school now has an enrollment of 430. The expansion would make room for about 550 students. The 80-acre campus has evergreens on rolling lawns where classes are often held.

Before the new facility is built, the school must obtain approval from the county Board of Appeals for an expansion of the zoning exception that allows the school to operate in a residential area. The Board of Appeals is scheduled to hear the case Nov. 30. No opposition is expected.

Last Thursday, the county Planning Board reviewed the proposal and recommended approval. The proposal also has been endorsed by the county Department of Planning and Zoning.

The plans under consideration also include a small addition to the school's Gould high school building, named for school founder Kingdon Gould Jr. The 6,000-square-foot addition will have a computer-equipped technology lab and will allow for relocation of the high school library.

The Board of Appeals also will consider a second phase of the school's expansion.

After 2004, the school plans to build a replacement for its gymnasium, add two playing fields (for a total of six) and add two tennis courts (also for a total of six). The second phase also includes converting two modular classrooms into permanent structures and the construction of two maintenance buildings.

In addition, the school wants to add 128 parking space over the two phases.

Constructing the fine arts and middle school building will require several million dollars in donations from parents and school boosters, although Mr. Miller said the precise amount needed won't be known until designs are completed.

The school is gearing up to inform parents and school boosters of its plans. That effort, through January, will be followed by a drive to raise money.

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