Approval near for South High renovation

April 19, 1997


Staff Writer

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced Friday that South Hagerstown High School is expected to get state approval for a major renovation of the 40-year-old school.

The move will open the door for about $6.6 million in state funding for the overall $12.75 million project, which could begin next year and be completed by 2002.

"We're trying to make sure every school is prepared for the future," Glendening said in the school's cafeteria.

The announcement was welcome news to school administrators and other local officials who had appealed to the governor to approve the project after it was turned down last year by the state Interagency Committee on School Construction.


"Our communities place a high value on quality education for all students," said Washington County Schools Superintendent Wayne F. Gersen. "State funding that helps us modernize schools like South Hagerstown High School is greatly appreciated because it supports the efforts of our teachers and citizens to continually improve the quality of our schools."

Glendening made the announcement following a tour of the building, where he saw exposed heating ducts, jury-rigged computer systems and other problems in the high school, which is the county's oldest and has never had a comprehensive renovation.

"You can't really learn in that type of environment, where it's too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer," Glendening said.

Glendening said it's important to update older schools like South High so they can help students meet the ever-changing technological demands of employers in the 21st century.

"We must prepare all of the students here - as President Clinton would say - for jobs we cannot even imagine," he said.

Glendening said the South High renovation also fits in with his "smart growth" initiative, which will target state funds for urban areas and other existing communities already serviced by schools, roads and other services.

Glendening used the event to underscore his previous commitment to school construction and renovation in Western Maryland, including $2.2 million to be spent on Washington County schools next year.

Final approval for the South High project is expected to come May 7 from the state Board of Public Works, on which Glendening serves. The first state funds could come in the 1999 budget year.

"This is the single most important first step in the process," said South High Principal Richard L. Martin.

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