Balto. Co. plans sale of old school in Ruxton Nursing home firm wants to build facility on site

February 05, 1997|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County has tentatively agreed to sell a 70-year-old former school building in Ruxton to a firm that wants to replace it with an assisted-living home for the elderly.

The $525,000 sale of the old Woodvale School at 8101 Bellona Ave. just north of Joppa Road would have to be approved by the Baltimore County Council. That vote could come March 3.

If the deal becomes final, Manor Care, a national nursing home chain, plans to demolish the two-story brick building and erect a one-story, assisted-living home on the 3.3-acre site, said Robert M. Boras, director of development at the firm's Gaithersburg headquarters.

The chain, which operates 200 nursing homes in 39 states, also has 50 assisted-living homes, including several in Montgomery County, said Boras. If approved, the Ruxton home would be its first in the Baltimore area.

The home would provide space for people 82 years or older, who would live in rooms similar to efficiency apartments but spend most of their time mingling in common activity areas, said Boras. County land acquisition chief Shirley M. Murphy said the company is interested in a 56-bed facility, if it can get zoning approval.

The company would have to seek a special exception and several variances at a public hearing, because current zoning allows no more than 24 beds of assisted living at that site.

Construction would be limited by a steep, wooded hill behind the existing building, which sits on a sharp curve across Bellona Avenue from the five-store Ruxton Crossing shopping center and the Mass Transit Administration's light rail tracks.

But Boras said plans are preliminary. The company has a 56-bed, one-story design it has used in other places, he said, but it may not be practical at this site.

The school's proposed sale is part of the Ruppersberger administration's larger plan to dispose of aging, often deteriorating buildings used for years to house county agencies.

"We wanted to get it moving," said Robert J. Barrett, special assistant and real estate specialist for County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, noting that the building has been for sale for nearly a year.

The 1925 building was declared surplus by the school board and turned over to the county in 1978.

It is being used by the Building Services Division of the Public Works Department as headquarters for about 150 workers who maintain and repair county-owned buildings. Most of them are scheduled to move to newer quarters at the former Grumman aircraft manufacturing plant in Glen Arm this year.

County officials believe the assisted-living use would produce less traffic than the workers who now use the site. Some residents had no objections to the proposal yesterday.

"It sounds good, because that building is an eyesore," said Julie Miller, who lives two doors south of the school property.

"I really wouldn't object to it if it were tastefully done," said Charles Hughes, a resident for 24 years.

Pub Date: 2/05/97

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