Letters from students detail `yucky' school

North Harford Middle School gets repairs

March 25, 2007|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,sun reporter

A seventh-grade writing assignment that focused attention on maintenance problems at North Harford Middle School led to Health Department inspections and official tours of the building in Pylesville this month.

The students wrote to county legislators, the county executive and the school board about stained sinks, broken water fountains and what many described as mold in the 30-year- old school. Health inspectors found no mold in the classrooms and tested the drinking water and the pool, finding both were safe.

Maintenance workers have replaced ceiling tiles and bathroom fixtures and repaired faulty plumbing.

"This was never a desperate situation, just one of repairs that needed addressing," said Principal Bruce Kovacs.

Students repeatedly wrote about "yucky" conditions and took inspectors around the building to show them "what that great middle-school word was describing," Kovacs said.

County Executive David R. Craig visited the school last week.

"Everything is in working order," he said afterward. "There is money in the budget for repairs and for cleaning."

The school's heating and air-conditioning systems will be replaced this spring and the pool will get a new roof next year. Both projects were planned before the letter-writing campaign.

"We encourage students to use these venues and work through the system to see if they can get resolutions there," said Craig, a former school administrator.

Robin R. Rich, a school board member whose children attended the school, commended the students for their activism.

"They got the eyes and ears of a number of people," Rich said.

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

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