The Howard County school board reversed itself last week and decided to allow River Hill High School juniors who were redistricted from Glenelg High School last fall to return to Glenelg for their senior year and remain eligible for athletics.
At its meeting Thursday night, the board also was told of the names proposed by the county's school naming committee for the new elementaries in Glenelg and North Laurel that are scheduled to open in fall 1998. The recommended name for the Glenelg elementary is Triadelphia Ridge, and the North Laurel elementary's recommended name is either Gorman Road or Gorman Crossing.
The school board also rejected a request to build a road through the school system's headquarters property in Ellicott City, saying that it didn't want to give up the land without being paid for it and that it was unclear who would pay for the construction.
In its decision on lifting the athletic eligibility ban, the board agreed that River Hill juniors who were forced to leave Glenelg in a redistricting decision should be allowed to complete their senior year at the school of their choice without being prohibited from playing sports.
Last month, the board designated Glenelg as an "open enrollment" school for 1997-1998, allowing students who live outside the neighborhood to attend the school as long as they provide their own transportation. At the same time, the board upheld its long-standing policy barring athletes from participating in sports for one school year, saying it prevents recruiting.
The decision angered some of the 270 students and their parents who wanted to return to Glenelg from River Hill in Clarksville.
After hearing the appeals of many parents and receiving petitions asking the board to reconsider, the board agreed that an exception to the one-year ban on athletic eligibility should be made only for River Hill juniors who return to Glenelg.
Board members said juniors at the two other high schools -- Atholton and Howard -- that were redistricted to new high schools last year had an option that did not exist for the Glenelg students. These students were able to remain at their original schools if they signed up for junior ROTC programs at these schools, resulting in no loss of their athletic eligibility.
The board also extended the deadline for River Hill juniors to apply for open enrollment at Glenelg from last Friday to this Friday.
If more than 70 students seek to enter Glenelg through open enrollment, a lottery will be held to determine who is allowed to attend, because only 70 spaces are available at the school.
In the discussion of school names, the naming committee looked for names that had historical significance in the area, said Alice Haskins, committee chairwoman and instructional coordinator of middle schools. Both elementaries are expected to cost $7.3 million and will have capacities of 564 students.
The Glenelg elementary is being built on a 78-acre site near the intersection of Triadelphia and Folly Quarter roads. A new middle school is expected to be built next to the elementary and open in 2003.
Triadelphia refers to the former mill town near the border of Montgomery and Howard counties that was submerged in 1942 when the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission built Brighton Dam, creating what is now the Triadelphia Reservoir.
"We thought about Triadelphia Road, but it wasn't on the road," Haskins said. "We wanted hill, but there are no hills. We wanted valley, but there is no valley.
"The committee wanted to add something to Triadelphia, so we settled on ridge," she said.
Other names suggested to the committee include Cooksville, Frosty Folly, Follydelphia Oaks, Galloping Dun, Triadelphia Lake and Oak Woods.
For the school in North Laurel, the committee recommended the name of the road near the school's location -- Gorman Road. The school is being built off Gorman Road near Murray Hill road, next to the new Murray Hill Middle School that is scheduled to open this fall.
Gorman Road is named for Arthur P. Gorman, a Woodstock native who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1882 and was one of Maryland's most prominent political leaders after the Civil War.
The committee originally suggested only Gorman Road as the name for the new elementary, but when it learned that the road near the school has been renamed Win- ter Sun Road, the committee reconvened and added Gorman Crossing.
Other names suggested to the committee included Murray Hill, Gorman, Fare Mille, Mount Laurel, Aire Wood, Hidden Stables and Rolling Acres.
The school board will hold a public hearing on the recommended names June 26, and it will vote on the names either after the hearing or at its July 8 meeting.