$1.5 million renovation OK'd for school Severna Park High to get new science labs

April 03, 1997|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

Severna Park Senior High School will replace its asbestos-riddled floor tiles and unsafe science lab setups and get new ceilings, ventilation systems and better work stations as part of a $1.5 million renovation project.

The county school board approved a $1.2 million construction contract yesterday to turn one wing of the building on Robinson Road into 13 classrooms with labs, swallowing up an unused media center. The state board of education will contribute $464,000 to the upgrade.

"Pleased is not the word," Steven B. Korpon, science department chairman, said yesterday. "Anybody starts talking about this, I start to grin, I get chills."

Narrow lab stations line the walls in some of the science labs. The stations have tiny sinks and electrical outlets inches from water faucets. There are gas leaks and slow-running drains as well, Korpon said.

Some science classrooms do not have wall-mounted blackboards of adequate size; others have lab surfaces that are worn from use.

"That's not good instruction technique," Korpon said. "The design is very poor."

Most of the science rooms have not been improved since 1973, he said.

Already, asbestos tile has been removed from one room, and four other rooms will have tile replaced.

Classrooms will be stripped down to bare walls, and lab islands will be created at which four students will be able to work on group experiments without having to turn away from the teacher or the center of the classroom.

Ceilings will be replaced, and ventilation systems that will reduce the smell of fumes will be added.

The science classrooms will be grouped by subject, allowing better interaction among teachers of the same subject, Korpon said.

"I think it's going to be good because we'll have better equipment to do our labs with," said Kami Skurow, a 14-year-old freshman, one of a classroom full of students whose desks rested on vinyl asbestos tile that will be removed during construction.

She and the rest of the 1,800 students must take three science courses to graduate.

Some of her classmates said the construction will be inconvenient, forcing students to avoid certain hallways. Since January, some science classes have been shifted to art, shop and media center classrooms.

The work on half the classrooms is to be finished Sept. 12, and the rest by January.

"It's going to be a pain when they're doing it," said Kevin Wells, 16.

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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