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School Board seeking donations of land

November 05, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County Board of Education member Jacqueline Fischer has a request: If you are interested in donating land to the school system in exchange for the chance to have a school named after you, contact school board members.

On Thursday, she described the idea as "far-fetched."

"But it can't hurt to look," she said.

She raised the idea at a Wednesday work session during which the school board reviewed a plan that would more than double its six-year capital improvement plan to $171.9 million, up from the current six-year program of about $60 million. The proposal, adopted unanimously Wednesday night, includes $10 million for land acquisition.

Fischer, at Wednesday's work session, suggested school board employees check land records to see who owns land in areas where the board wants to buy land and build schools.

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Those property owners could be contacted to see if anyone wants to donate property and have a school named after them, she said.

School board President Edward Forrest on Thursday said the idea was worth exploring.

Facilities Director Rodney Turnbough said Thursday that normally the school system needs a minimum of 15 acres for an elementary school, 30 acres for a middle school and 60 acres for a high school.

But school system personnel would like to talk to anyone interested in donating land, even if it is fewer than 15 acres, Turnbough said.

In March, the school board revised its policy on naming school facilities. Under the old policy, facilities could be named only for geographic areas and historic places. Two schools - E. Russell Hicks Middle School and Emma K. Doub Elementary School - were named for people prior to adoption of the earlier policy.

The revision permits the granting of naming rights for schools and facilities that are donated or paid for with private donations but it gives the school board the final say on the naming of any facility.

In late July, the school board gave its blessing to naming a proposed North Hagerstown High School stadium after businessman Mike Callas.

The North High Boosters Club Inc. requested that the stadium be named for Callas, chairman of Callas Contractors, who died May 31 at age 83. He died just days after he was named an honorary co-chairman of the stadium capital campaign.

Stadium supporters want to sell naming rights for the stadium and its components.

Last year, Hagerstown property owner Vincent Groh donated the former Henry's Theater at 9-11 S. Potomac St. to the city for the planned Hagerstown School of the Arts.

Groh requested that the school be named for his late wife, so the school now is being called the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

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