New school nearly ready Eldersburg elementary cost $8.5 million

1st day of class Aug. 24

'We have been waiting'

Open house last week of Linton Springs offered preview

August 03, 1998|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

From choosing the color of the carpet in the media center to designing the school stationery, Nancy Chapin has been immersed in the details of opening Linton Springs Elementary since she became the school's first principal five months ago.

From a construction standpoint, the school is nearly complete. But for Chapin and other administrators and support staff who have been putting in long hours readying Linton Springs for its Aug. 24 opening, their efforts paid off with last week's open house.

The Eldersburg school opened to the public for the first time, and more than 600 Linton Springs students and their parents streamed through to get a glimpse of the neighborhood school.

"We have been waiting for this day," said Rita Sisk, who was first in the door with her daughters, Meghan, 12, and Carrie, 7, who will be a second-grader at Linton Springs.

"Every day it's, 'How many days till we get to come and see it?' " Sisk said. "We drive by and have been watching the progress."

The empty hallways at Linton Springs filled quickly at the open house as children tested the blue lockers and looked for their classrooms, and parents asked teachers when class lists will be ready.

"It brought personality to the building," Chapin said after the event. "Now it's like a living, breathing school."

When the $8.5 million Linton Springs opens, it will be Carroll County's largest elementary school, with a 750-student capacity. The school will have five classes each of first, second and third grades and six each of fourth and fifth grades. About 100 students are enrolled in four kindergarten classes.

Rob Rollins, Linton Springs project manager, said the Board of County Commissioners wanted the school to be large enough to accommodate the influx of students in south Carroll.

"It has five or six extra classrooms to take on the growth in that area," he said.

Parents in south Carroll have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Linton Springs to relieve school crowding in the county's most populous region. The school prompted a redistricting of students in the four other elementary schools in the region to balance enrollments.

Rollins said the opening of Linton Springs allowed school officials to move 10 portable classrooms from elementary schools in south Carroll to county high schools.

Ten-year-old Kristy Witten will attend Linton Springs from Eldersburg Elementary, where she spent four years in a portable classroom.

"I was always in a trailer," she said last week at the Linton Springs open house.

Kristy was full of praise for her school after a stroll through the building with her parents.

"I like the gym 'cause it's big and it's nice to have a classroom that's so big and pretty," she said.

She couldn't help comparing Linton Springs with Eldersburg Elementary.

"We have lockers and they don't, and this is really bigger than the other school, and they don't have sinks in every room," she said.

A big crowd-pleaser with many of the students was the gym/cafeteria/stage area.

The county Recreation and Parks Department contributed to the cost of a middle school-sized gym, which will be used by community groups.

"This is where we're going to put on plays. It's gigantic," said 8-year-old Megan Crampton of the stage at Linton Springs.

Many parents who didn't like the open space design at Eldersburg Elementary said they were pleased that classrooms at Linton Springs can be separated with wall partitions.

"I thought it was hard for them to concentrate," said parent Gail Witten. "It was a big distraction."

With three weeks before the first day of school, plenty of work remains at Linton Springs. Each day brings truckloads of deliveries -- computers, desks, books -- to fill the now-empty spaces at the school.

Chapin, previously principal at Carrolltowne Elementary, said she tries to walk through the school several times a day. She notices whether window blinds are hanging properly and if each classroom has the correct number of desks.

"You don't want to micromanage, but you want to get the whole picture," she said.

Sometimes the details can be overwhelming, but Chapin enjoys being in on every decision related to Linton Springs.

"It's an opportunity to see a school from the ground up," she said. "I just feel like it's a privilege to have the opportunity to open a new school. Very few people have that chance."

A second open house will be held at Linton Springs from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Pub Date: 8/03/98

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