Turf fields vs. replacing leaking roofs

November 22, 2011

Left out of the original decision on how to spend Howard County's $4 million share of state alcohol tax revenues earmarked for school construction projects, the county Board of Education is now weighing the projects already approved by state Board of Public Works against other priorities.

The school board will hold a public hearing on all of the projects Dec. 8 and select a final list Dec. 20. The projects under consideration are listed below.

Already approved by the Board of Public Works, at the request of the Howard County Public School System:

• $1 million to replace the grass football field at Atholton High School, in Columbia, with artificial turf;

• $1 million to replace the grass football field at Hammond High School, in Columbia, with artificial turf;

• $1 million to replace or upgrade hall lockers, security and fire alarm systems, concession stands, the stadium press box, doors and hardware and wrestling mat rack lift mechanisms at Oakland Mills High School, in Columbia;

• $750,000 to expand the weight room and physical education storage areas and upgrade locker rooms at Wilde Lake High School, in Columbia; and,

• $250,000 to enclose a partial wall separating a classroom from the media center and replace supply cases in the art and band/chorus rooms at Wilde Lake Middle School, in Columbia.

Other prioritized projects school system staff identified at the school board's request:

• $1.8 million to replace the 26-year-old roof at Dunloggin Middle School, in Ellicott City;

• $1.8 million to replace the 24-year-old roof at Harper's Choice Middle School, in Columbia;

• $722,000 to replace parts of the 25-year-old roof at Howard High School, in Ellicott City; and,

• $665,000 to replace parts of the 24-year-old roof at Bollman Bridge Elementary, in Jessup; the foam insulation used in the roof has accelerated corrosion of the metal panels and is the subject of a class action lawsuit.

—Lindsey McPherson

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