Ehrlich allots funds to schools

Early capital budget benefits N. Harford High

January 26, 2003|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has given a preliminary go-ahead for a $44 million renovation of the North Harford High School that will basically amount to the construction of a new school.

In his capital budget released Thursday, the governor designated $2 million for the first phase of construction. "That is very good news for the county," said Kathleen Sanner, supervisor of planning and construction for Harford County Public Schools.

"It's not written in law, but there's a gentlemen's agreement in Annapolis that insures when the first installment of construction money is awarded, you get the rest of the money," Sanner said.

The budget also included $1,788,000 for heating and air-conditioning work at the Edgewood Middle School.

Donald R. Morrison, a spokesman for Harford County Public Schools, said the work at Edgewood stems from a mold problem at the school in 2000.

He said only part of the school had air conditioning. "Where the part that was air-conditioned met the part that was not air-conditioned, it was like a weather front that promoted mold growth," Morrison said.

He said the solution was to rip out the existing heating and air-conditioning units and replace them throughout the school.

Sanner said the work is scheduled to begin at the end of the school year in June. She said it would not be finished before the school opens again.

During the school year, pupils will be moved from areas of the building where work is being done to areas where it has been completed.

Edgewood Middle School was closed for four days in October 2000 after parents complained that the mold was making their children sick. The school had an enrollment of 1,600 at the time.

The renovation at North Harford is designed to ease crowding.

When construction is completed in 2007, it will expand the school's capacity to 1,600 students from the current 1,454.

Sanner said the county school system was also granted $65,000 to move a four-classroom trailer complex from Edgewood Elementary School to North Harford.

Del. Barry Glassman, who heads the Harford County legislative delegation, said the funding for the construction projects still needs the approval of the General Assembly.

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