Board to vote on Brooklyn Park Middle School plan

April 11, 1997|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

The county school board will vote Wednesday whether to construct a new building or renovate the old area high school building for a proposed 725-student Brooklyn Park Middle School.

The board will choose from five options, ranging from renovation of the former Brooklyn Park High School for $16.3 million to a complete overhaul of the building for $22.4 million. Building a new school would cost $20.6 million.

The middle school is expected to open in fall 2000.

The board also will decide among options for expanding Southern Middle School, at 5235 Solomon Island Road in Lothian.

Grimm and Parker Architects prepared plans for both middle schools and presented them to the board April 2.

Board member Janet Bury said she is relieved that Brooklyn Park is finally getting a middle school. Currently, all sixth-graders in the area are taught in classrooms in area elementary schools.

"A lot of parents say they don't really want their sixth-graders in middle school, but our test scores are lower," Bury said. "I'm from that area of the county, and we're not a bunch of yokels that don't know anything. There's got to be a reason that our kids aren't testing as well as kids in the rest of the county. And I think it has to do with classes such as foreign languages and sciences -- these aren't available in elementary schools."

After the eight-member board votes, it will modify its 1998 budget request and submit it to the county executive. The County Council will vote on the budget next month.

Various county agencies, including Drug Abuse Resistance Education and a Department of Aging nutrition program, are in the former high school at 200 Hammonds Lane. Room for the agencies to remain after the middle school opens is included in all the renovation proposals.

The auditorium, presently unoccupied, is slated for use as a North County creative arts center that will be affiliated with Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. This week, the General Assembly voted to fund the $2.5 million project over the next year.

Del. Joan Cadden, a 31st District Democrat who pushed for funding for the arts center, said she was happy with plans for the building.

"Finally, Brooklyn Park schools will be equitable to other schools in the county," Cadden said. "We'll still have community services for all of North County and a creative arts center will be there for everyone in the family."

Pub Date: 4/11/97

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