Additional school funding proposed

February 11, 2002

Additional school funding proposed


Washington County's proposed six-year capital improvement program includes an additional $500,000 a year for county school projects, $200,000 each for two library branch buildings and money for a training facility used by emergency personnel.

The increase for schools would allow an addition to Fountain Rock Elementary School to be built a year sooner, in 2006 instead of 2007. The school will receive a new cafeteria, kitchen and two classrooms to replace two portables on the school site.

"That's great news," said Washington County Board of Education School Board President Edward Forrest.

At a Jan. 22 meeting with the Washington County Board of Commissioners, the School Board asked for the county's capital improvement commitment to be increased from $4.5 million to $5 million for the next six years.

Washington County Administrator Rodney Shoop directed that the additional money be put in the proposed program. The change requires approval by the County Commissioners, Shoop said.


The proposed capital program is scheduled to be discussed for the first Tuesday from 8:25 to 11:45 a.m. in the commissioners meeting room, 100 W. Washington St.

The annual program budget for fiscal 2003 is not officially adopted until spring. The fiscal year starts July 1.

While the county approves budgets only one year at a time, the six-year program is used to plan for the future.

The proposed program includes $200,000 each for planned new branch libraries in Smithsburg and Boonsboro, with the rest of the costs of those facilities coming from federal grants and private contributions.

The proposed program lists the cost of the Smithsburg branch at $1.6 million. A 10,000-square-foot branch building would replace the current 1,086-square-foot branch building.

The program lists the cost of a new Boonsboro branch building at $2 million. A 13,000-square-foot branch building would replace the current 1,713-square-foot branch building.

The Smithsburg library would be funded in fiscal 2003 and 2004 and the Boonsboro library would be funded in fiscal 2005 and 2006.

The Washington County Free Library Board of Directors and boards from the two libraries requested the funding.

The program also proposes spending about $1.1 million for land acquisition and the design and construction of a combined Emergency Operations Center, Volunteer Fire and Rescue and Special Operations Team Office. The site would also include land for a fire/emergency management system/law enforcement training facility. Construction of the project would not start until fiscal 2006.

A February 2001 report from the Washington County Emergency Services Council suggested construction of the facility.

The $27.7 million proposed capital program for fiscal year 2003 is up from about a $26.2 million program for fiscal 2002.

The program calls for using about $10.8 million in local bonds, $10.6 million in federal grants and about $2.2 million from the county general funds in addition to other sources, according to county documents.

The total cost for the six-year program is estimated at $195.6 million.

The six-year program also includes:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> About $56 million toward the extension of a Hagerstown Regional Airport runway and improvements on Route 11 needed because of the extension.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $382,746 toward a North County Park on Leitersburg Pike across from Marsh Pike.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> $200,000 toward a second building for the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum.

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