Construction project cuts are on school board agenda

Plans for tech centers, South Carroll trimmed

public hearing tonight

Carroll County

May 15, 2002|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

The Carroll school board will hold a public hearing tonight on the county's preliminary proposal for school construction and renovation projects planned for the next decade.

Parents with children at South Carroll High and the county's two career and technology centers are expected to object to recent decisions to scale back projects at those buildings.

Although South Carroll had been scheduled for a building modernization and fine arts addition - neither of which has received county or state funding - school officials have cut the project to the fine arts addition.

"The fine arts addition still requires a significant amount of work and the whole modernization and fine arts project would have been a significant chunk of money," said Raymond Prokop, the school system's facilities director. "The problem is that there are three elementary schools with more significant needs for a modernization than the high school."

Modernization projects at Charles Carroll, Freedom and William Winchester elementaries are included in the proposed construction plan.

Delayed were upgrades and expansions at Carroll County Career and Technology Center, next to Westminster High, and South Carroll Career and Technology Center, adjacent to South Carroll High.

Interim Superintendent Charles I. Ecker has requested a broad review of the county's training programs, rather than proceed with plans to reconfigure space at Westminster High to make way for additional career and technology programs and to improve facilities in Westminster and South Carroll.

Earlier reviews, Prokop said, have revealed that piecemeal renovations and improvements will not do. Until the instructional staff determines what programs should be cut, continued or expanded, major renovations to either center will be delayed.

"There are so many needs that some people need to make some decisions from an instructional standpoint," Prokop said. "I'll build it, I'll renovate it, I'll modernize it - you just need to tell me what it is."

School officials plan to spend $500,000 in the next year to improve ventilation at the career and technology center in Westminster, where dust and fumes from machine workshops drift into other areas. Additional walls, exhaust fans and floor drains should improve air quality and alleviate health problems, Prokop said.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Cranberry Station Elementary on North Center Street outside Westminster. The school board is expected to vote on the plan at its meeting June 12.

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