School Construction Update for Lothian, Shady Side and Edgewater Elementary
Since the beginning of the school year, the 450 or so students plus faculty and staff of Lothian Elementary School have been temporary tenants at Southern Middle School next door. They’ll be there for this school year and part of next while their old school building is torn down and a new building is built.
But for South Countians who drive by the school, it sort of looks like a whole lot of nothing is going on.
Not so, said Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman Bob Mosier. He said that it might look like nothing is going on from the outside, but inside, there is a lot of stuff that has to happen before the building can come down.
First, he said that the county goes in and pulls all the desks and furnishings that can be used in other school buildings. Next, they’ll run a massive salvage operation that will start with doors, lights and fixtures and eventually include things inside the walls like copper wire. They’ll have to do HAZMAT abatement and then a massive scrap operation.
Then the bulldozers can come in and do their work.
But, Mosier said, in an interesting partnership between Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Fire and Police, the building is also being used to conduct training exercises.
“It’s a great example of a collaboration with public safety,” Mosier said.
And where else do county firefighters have an opportunity to go into a school building and conduct full-on fire training? With real hoses and gear? Not too many parents would be keen on having that kind of exercise going on with junior in the classroom next door.
In addition, Mosier said that police are using soap powder bullets to run emergency drills and simulations. Mosier said that it is great for police to be able to go into the old building and run training programs for officers, who don’t often have a chance to work inside such unique facilities as schools.
Mosier said that the building is currently set to come down in October.
The school budget tallies the demolition and construction of the new Lothian Elementary at $32.7 million over the course of several years.
Typically, school construction starts with a budget line item several years out, then moves to a feasibility study, then funding for either a renovation or a demolition and rebuild.
From the time administrators are notified that their school is on the list, they might not see a new building go up for seven years or even longer, depending on county budgeting protocols and forecasts.
Lothian Elementary school was built in 1956. Dwight D. Eisenhower was president when it opened its doors to students. At the time, it was a whites-only facility.
Over the years, it has had a few renovations—in 1966, 1977 and 1993. In fact, many countywide construction projects in the 1964-1966 time frame were due to mandated racial integration of the schools after the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decision. African American students from the former blacks-only Rosenwald school, “Galesville Elementary,” were integrated to Lothian Elementary School.
Former students and parents had an opportunity to walk through the halls one last time in June.
There is only one elementary school building in the county that is older than Lothian at this point: Edgewater Elementary, which went up in 1953 (when Truman was president).
That school has been renovated twice, in 1964 and 1985. Edgewater was previously on the FY 2016 school construction Capital Budget, but the start date of the feasibility study was pushed back a year and the price tag has gone from $37.6 million to $43.7 million. If the Anne Arundel County Council approves AACPS Superintendent Mamie Perkins’ FY 2014 budget plan, Edgewater will be back in the running for a new building that will likely be completed in 2020. Perkins presented her plan to the Board of Education earlier this month (on Sept. 11).
Shady Side Elementary was likewise set for a feasibility study in the FY 2013 budget, but also pushed back a year. The initial price tag for that school was $31.4 million. The new amount requested is $38.4 million and a completion date of 2019.
Here’s the breakout in the new budget. It is also available at this link: Superintendent’s Recommended FY15 Capital Budget:
Shady Side Elementary School ($38.4 million total)
- FY ’16 – $2.9 million for feasibility study/design
- FY ’17 – $16.5 million for construction
- FY ’18 – $14.6 million for construction
- FY ’19 $4.3 million move-in and completion
Edgewater Elementary School ($43.8 million total)
- FY ’17 – $ 3.2 million for feasibility study/design
- FY ’18 – $18.8 million for construction
- FY ’19 – $16.7 million for constrction
- FY ’20 – $5 million for completion and move-in
After approval of the budget by the Board of Education, the plan will be submitted to the State of Maryland for funding consideration. The plan will also be part of the school system’s overall FY2015 budget request, to be forwarded to the County Executive in February 2014 after the Board holds public hearings. The County Council will review that plan and adopt a final capital budget for the school system in June 2014.
The FY2014 budget adopted by the County Council is $137 million.
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