School board approves $42.71 million request to fund capital projects More than half of money would pay for construction of S. Carroll high school

August 28, 1998|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County Board of Education approved last night a $42.71 million capital improvement program for 1999 to upgrade county schools and build new ones.

The board is seeking $20.85 million in county money and $21.86 million in state funds to carry out the capital projects in the 1999-2000 academic year.

More than half of the request to the state and the County Commissioners is for the construction of a $29.4 million high school in South Carroll, scheduled for completion in 2001.

Other requests include construction funds for Cranberry Station Elementary School and the new Hampstead Middle School, and money to pay for new athletic facilities and computer and science lab improvements in schools.

The request to the state is the first step in a long series of requests and appeals, as counties compete for shares of state money for schools.

State school planning staff will review requests over the next few months and make recommendations to the Board of Public Works in January.

"It is our charge to convince the director of the Maryland Public School Construction Office that our projects are justified and convince the Board of Public Works to fund them," said Vernon F. Smith, assistant superintendent of administration for Carroll schools.

Smith said that task has become increasingly difficult because of rising construction costs.

"It's very frustrating for a lot of people -- for the County Commissioners, who are attempting to get a handle on our funding program, for members of the Board of Education, who are trying to be good stewards of public money," said Smith.

He attributed the increased costs to a glut of construction work.

"Contractors aren't as hungry," Smith said.

The second largest portion of the board's capital budget request -- $7.8 million in state money -- is for construction of Cranberry Station Elementary School and Hampstead Middle School.

Because the two schools are so badly needed, the county committed to full funding before the state formally approved the projects.

The board is asking for $2.7 million to help pay for the $8.2 million Cranberry Station Elementary, scheduled to open in August 1999. It is also seeking $5.1 million toward construction of the $15.5 million Hampstead Middle School, to be completed in 2000.

Other projects covered in the school board's request include: Updating wiring at schools for more advanced computer technology -- $132,000. The county would provide another $69,000.

Putting a new roof on Eldersburg Elementary School -- $179,000. The county would provide $96,000.

Developing Science 2000 Projects, which would upgrade science labs at Liberty and Westminster high schools -- $182,000. The county would provide $242,000.

Renovation of the media center at Sykesville Middle School -- $496,000. The county would provide $1.1 million.

Construction of an addition at Spring Garden Elementary -- $455,000. The county would provide $519,000.

Pub Date: 8/28/98

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