Instruction and construction Carroll County: New school year brings some relief for crowded elementaries.

September 18, 1998

TWO NEW school buildings, a new superintendent and nearly 27,000 pupils greeted the opening of public schools in Carroll County for the 1998-1999 year.

It could be a year of significant change, with new schools leader William H. Hyde reshaping the administration. Two new county high schools, the first since 1978, are planned to open within five years.

The school board and administration moved into a new home in the Winchester Building in Westminster, after a decade in court annex quarters a block away.

An ambitious school construction program is under way to meet continuing enrollment increases, largely paid for by bonds that will be serviced from local piggyback income tax revenues.

Completion of Linton Springs and Elmer A. Wolfe elementaries offered new spaces for 1,350 pupils this year. Students at Linton Springs were wowed by the bright blue lockers, which had stickers with their names on them. Elmer Wolfe youngsters liked the new school's single-story layout and the air conditioning, especially in the mid-90s temperatures that greeted last month's early start to the school year.

A third elementary, Cranberry Station, was scheduled to open this year, but construction problems and replacement of the general contractor delayed it at least another year.

But the county is still dependent on portable classrooms (or trailers, as some call them) to meet the enrollment crunch. More than 115 are in use; Liberty High in burgeoning South Carroll, with 30 percent more pupils than capacity, has 17 of the movable classrooms.

Instruction, rather than construction, is the most important part of a successful education system. But Carroll must meet both challenges in the coming year.

Pub Date: 9/18/98

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