Randallstown Elementary renovation seen as best fix Funds unavailable to build facility, officials say

November 18, 1998|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Touring Randallstown Elementary School yesterday, Baltimore County school board members came to two conclusions: They would prefer to replace the county's oldest elementary, but a $6.7 million renovation plan will be OK.

"I think the repairs will work out pretty well," said board member Michael P. Kennedy. "It's not perfect, but I think it will fix almost all of the problems."

The board's tour came as a plan proposed last month by County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger appears to have quieted a community campaign for a replacement building to be built for Randallstown.

Under the plan -- which has been approved by the school board -- the 90-year-old elementary will be completely renovated, including windows and doors, and heating, electrical, lighting and plumbing systems.

A combined cafeteria and auditorium will be built, and sprinklers and an elevator will be added to bring the school up to building codes for fire safety and disability access.

County officials also are in the process of acquiring a piece of land next to the 470-student school along Liberty Road for a new bus loop and additional parking.

All of the work might be finished by the 2000-2001 school year, said Kurt Buckler, the school system's manager of engineering and construction.

A proposal to build a 550-seat elementary at a site near Randallstown High School was set aside last month because it was too expensive, and the site turned out to be difficult for building.

During yesterday's tour, five school board members walked through the building with Randallstown Principal Marcel I. Hall and several officials from the school system's facilities and northwest-area offices.

Board members saw a cramped basement cafeteria that likely )) will be divided into areas for storage and small-group instruction, and they visited a sweltering gymnasium that is expected to be a more reasonable temperature when new boilers and ventilation are installed.

"There are a lot of things that need to be fixed here," said student board member Alice L. Arcieri, a senior at Towson High )) School.

Board members also walked through a sturdy, stone building and large, enclosed classrooms that are praised by both teachers and parents.

"There's a lot of history in this building, and there are a lot of things to like in this building," Hall said. "I think that the repairs and the addition will fix the biggest problems."

County and school officials already have begun renovating Randallstown. On Nov. 2, they closed a street that runs between the school and the school's playground to everything but bus traffic during the day -- protecting children who must cross for recess.

Not everything at the school can be fixed -- particularly its location along busy Liberty Road. School board members said they fear for the safety of students, parents and guards who must cross the road.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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