The Howard County Board of Education approved recently the schematic design for the Hammond Elementary School and Hammond Middle School renovations and 100-seat expansion.
Construction on the project, which is scheduled to be completed August 2011, is expected to combat overcrowding of schools along the U.S. 1 corridor, according to school system officials.
"This is needed and helpful in balancing the [U.S. 1] growth," said Joel Gallihue, the school system's manager for school planning. "This is a good leverage of a short-term need and a long-term need."
The main focus of the estimated $22 million project will be on the elementary school side of the building. According to preliminary plans, the project will reconfigure both the elementary and middle schools' administrative office areas, health suites and guidance areas. The existing roof for both schools will be replaced and mechanical and electrical systems common to both schools will be upgraded. The elementary school will also receive a four-classroom addition. More parking and a stage will be added to the elementary school gymnasium.
The board voted 6-1 in favor of the schematic design. Board member Allen Dyer was the lone vote against the design. Dyer raised exception with whether or not the school was going to be designed meeting "green school" standards. He also questioned whether it would be more cost-effective to build a new school.
"It's just not feasible," said board member Sandra H. French, who added that the state would not sign off on a new school. "This is going to be a wonderful renovation. I think we will be able to solve mistakes of the past."