Board votes to modernize building for middle school

April 18, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The Anne Arundel County school board voted late Wednesday to modernize Brooklyn Park middle school, leaving a wing for arts and other county programs, and to build a new middle school for South County.

The Brooklyn Park decision is a victory for North County activists who lobbied hard for the $20.3 million renovation of the former high school building. It also gives elected officials the flexibility to use a $300,000 state grant for a North County venue for Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

That decision pleased County Executive John G. Gary, who holds the purse strings on school construction and who plans to use part of the building for community and county programs.

But he was less than happy with the plans for South County. Gary, who opposes a new middle school in Lothian, said through a spokesman that a school addition would save on operating costs.

"And a second school would create an opportunity for further growth in South County, and I am not interested in that opportunity," he added.

The board is seeking $1.4 million in next year's budget to design changes at Brooklyn Park.

Meanwhile, a group led by Del. Joan Cadden, a 31st District Democrat, is forming a foundation to help place Maryland Hall's outreach program in the Brooklyn Park building.

Board members favoring a new school in South County said that the capacity of Southern Middle could be increased by 300 for $15 million, but that a new school at a cost of about $6 million more could accommodate up to 900 students while allowing Southern Middle to remain open.

Parents at the meeting clamored for a new school and heckled board member Michael J. McNelly, a South County resident, who voted against a new school.

"It would be great if I could support a new school, but the money isn't there," he said.

"It never is for South County," someone hollered.

Pub Date: 4/18/97

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