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Public can learn about proposed new school

March 25, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

CASCADE - The public will get a chance to find out more about a planned college preparatory magnet school at the former U.S. Army base at Fort Ritchie during a public information meeting Monday.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Lakeside Hall at Fort Ritchie.

The Role Models America Academy, which will create 175 jobs, will have 535 students. Each of the 435 U.S. representatives and 100 senators would appoint one student.

Robert Alexander, founder and president of Role Models America Inc., a Maryland-based national nonprofit organization, said he will attend Monday's meeting, make a presentation and answer questions.

Information about academy jobs won't be ready until about early May, Alexander said.

The academy has signed a one-year lease for 254,000 square feet of existing facilities with an option for a four-year renewal. The amount of the lease has not been disclosed.

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The lease is with the PenMar Development Corp., the Maryland General Assembly-created organization charged with bringing in businesses to replace the 2,000 jobs lost when the base closed in September 1998.

Classes are scheduled to start this fall. The academy will be certified to offer high school diplomas recognized in all 50 states. The students will live on the campus year-round.

Using the former Army bases, 36 buildings and dining facilities and other structures, the school will establish an education complex with three dormitories, a chapel, gymnasium, theater and classrooms, he said.

The students will be high school dropouts without criminal records who have demonstrated that they have the aptitude and potential to finish high school and enter college, Alexander said.

The curriculum will include mandatory vocational classes in information technology at the school through a dual enrollment program with Hagerstown Community College.

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