Construction to cause student shuffle Broadneck High renovation will mean split shifts

July 30, 1996|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

When Anne Arundel County public schools re-open next month, Broadneck Senior High will be in the Severn River Junior High building, creating an atmosphere of deja vu for Broadneck students who thought they were done with the place at the end of ninth grade.

Severn River's grades eight and nine will bunk with Magothy River Middle School's grades six and seven at the Twin Rivers complex in Arnold, creating the county's first split-shift school in more than a decade.

The changes, only for this school year, will allow construction crews to begin a $24.9 million renovation and expansion to make room for ninth graders at Broadneck. The high school is the only one in the state without them, according to Linda Blackman, Broadneck principal.

The work is to be spread over two years, with builders devoting the first year to the renovations that will allow grades 10 to 12 to return in August 1997 and end split shifts at Magothy River. By then, they'll be working on the addition that will enable ninth-graders to arrive in August 1998.

It has taken a task force of parents, teachers, students and administrators more than a year to work out the details -- down to which teachers get the top drawers in shared classrooms (Severn River) and what to do with Broadneck's Bruin mascot (it will stand in front of the office).

The group envisioned potential crises, then set about resolving them. They would need day care for younger students, atmosphere for older ones; new hours for two schools, parking for the third. Mail for Broadneck would be delivered in Arnold while the school retained its Annapolis address.

The task force will continue to meet, but no one expects a major crisis to surface.

Severn River students got the 7 a.m.-to-noon shift, prompting Principal John Brown to joke that he'll broadcast reveille on the public address system. While those students are hustled out one set of doors, the Magothy students will arrive at noon through different doors. They will leave at 5 p.m.

"It's going to be a little tight," said Magothy Principal Edward Holshey. "We have to find nooks and crannies for materials storage. We have to share every classroom space."

To alleviate fears of students walking to and from school in the dark, all students will be bused.

The county Department of Recreation of Parks is offering a morning day-care program for Magothy students, but there wasn't enough interest in an afternoon program for older students. A survey last year showed Broadneck students were distressed with returning to junior high, a place with dingy green hallways and no snack machines.

"A school isn't a building. It's the people in it," said Blackman. "They had in their minds they were going back to junior high."

Nonetheless, Broadneck's snack and soda machines have arrived at Severn River and volunteers armed with paint rollers have turned most common areas white, said parent Susan Good.

All three schools will start Aug. 28, two days after all other county schools, so that teachers can unpack. And there's plenty to uncrate: Broadneck's science department alone packed more than 900 boxes.

Pub Date: 7/30/96

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