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School replacement, renovation ideas probed

March 05, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education looked at four ways the renovation of Maugansville Elementary School could be accomplished Tuesday, but saw that the old, structurally damaged building might have to be replaced.

Director of Facilities Management Dennis McGee told the School Board that a 127-acre lot southeast of the current Maugansville Elementary School could be bought and used to build a new two-story school, which would be the most cost-efficient way to handle the renovation project and allow space for future expansion.

That option would cost the school system $13.04 million, he said.

If the School Board were to choose the option of building a new school on the adjacent land, the existing school would be demolished, with the exception of the portion of the school built in 1936, McGee said. That part of the building could be used by Washington County Parks and Recreation, he said.

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McGee said that Maugansville Elementary, originally built in 1936 with additions in 1955 and 1968, has been damaged structurally by flooding and age. He said for the most part the masonry of the building is sound, but windows would need to be replaced in patches throughout the existing school and existing boilers might have to be replaced.

"The site itself from top to bottom slopes 20 feet," he said.

McGee said building a school on the adjacent land would alleviate flooding problems the current school has experienced.

The 1936 portion of the building has a wooden frame, the roof of which collapsed in 1996, he said. He said structural engineers recommended that portion of the frame be replaced if the existing school is renovated.

The first three options the School Board looked at involved one-story additions and refurbishment of the existing building, and two variations of two-story additions and refurbishment of the existing building.

Those options, McGee said, did not allow enough room for sufficient parking and play areas on top of costly refurbishment.

The School Board voted in November to approve an $89,000 low bid from the Frederick, Md., firm Proffit and Pryor Architects to conduct a feasibility study.

The state requires the school system to conduct a feasibility study for a school renovation project if it intends to tear down more than 25 percent of an existing school, as is being considered for Maugansville Elementary, McGee has said.

The School Board voted last week to consolidate Maugansville and Conococheague elementary schools into a renovated Maugansville school.

McGee will make a formal recommendation to the School Board at its March 18 meeting.

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