Harford seeks extra $1.8 million from state for school building

Four construction projects on county's list for funding

January 23, 2003|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

Harford County politicians and education officials appealed to the state Board of Public Works yesterday for an additional $1.8 million in school construction funds in the coming fiscal year, arguing the money is needed for projects to modernize school buildings, provide basic maintenance and alleviate crowding.

County Executive James M. Harkins said the county's burgeoning population will necessitate $309 million in school construction funding over the next 10 years.

Although the current requests were modest compared to the wish lists of some other counties, he said Harford's four listed projects are essential.

A group of 20 delegates, senators, county councilmen, school board members and others joined him before the board to seek money for the projects, some of which have received funding.

"Collectively, we all see the needs," said Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas.

The county's representatives asked the board for planning approval, though no construction money, for a new Bel Air area middle/high school this year.

Harford County's middle and high schools are hundreds of students over capacity, forcing students to attend classes in trailers. Enrollment projections show the problem growing worse over the coming decade, Haas said.

The county asked the state for an additional $529,000 for the modernization and expansion of North Harford High School. Haas said the project would increase the school's capacity to 1,600 students and allow greater emphasis to be placed on teaching agriscience and environmental science, making the school a centerpiece for the surrounding rural community.

Looking to increase cooperation with Aberdeen Proving Ground and nearby businesses, Harkins and Haas asked the state for planning approval and $975,000 in construction funding for the Aberdeen Science and Math Academy, adding a third floor to the building that is being built to replace Aberdeen High School.

The county also asked for $274,000 to replace the roof of Jarrettsville Elementary School.

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